by Julia Renner, Environmental Science, 2017
After 36 years of outstanding contribution to Northeastern University, its students, and the field of coastal geology, Dr. Peter S. Rosen retired as Associate Professor Emeritus on January 1, 2015.
Beyond serving as the chairperson for the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences from 1997-2007, Dr. Rosen helped lead the “transformation of a classical geology department into an environmental science department.”
It was this dedication to students and the department that made Dr. Rosen so influential within both the Northeastern and Boston communities. He was involved with the Boston Marine Studies Consortium, Northeastern’s Muckenhoupt Scholarship Program, and Northeastern’s Law and Public Policy Program. He was also known for his engagement with students, including his popular field trips for geology courses and the research he conducted with undergraduates.
Dr. Rosen’s service to the field extended beyond his work at Northeastern. Primarily a coastal geologist, his areas of interest include sand dune and salt marsh process, the evolution of beaches and barrier islands, and the impacts of glaciation and sea level rise on shorelines. His fieldwork has taken him as far as Eastern Canada, the Caribbean, Brazil, and Israel, although he has spent most of his career in Massachusetts. “The diversity of shoreline processes is remarkable,” he notes about the area inside Boston Harbor, which he is still studying with colleagues from Boston University.
His publications include over 100 papers, book chapters, abstracts, field guides, and technical reports, and he developed a new method for measuring wind-driven coastal sand transport. His research has also led to practical projects in the field, including study of the distribution of Native American archaeological sites in the Harbor and work on the evolution of seawall and wharf construction on the Massachusetts coastline.
Dr. Rosen plans to continue his contributions to the field of coastal geology, dedicating his time to research on shorelines and regulatory issues, and visiting the world’s diverse shorelines.
All students and faculty involved in the marine and environmental sciences at Northeastern will benefit from Dr. Rosen’s decades of passion and innovation, and the department as a whole extends its congratulations and thanks to a uniquely dedicated researcher and educator.