Skip to Content

Natural Sciences

LSA researchers in the natural sciences focus on understanding the physical world through observational and empirical evidence. Our scientists have looked into the contents of tiny, ancient seeds, trekked to the Biological Station and Camp Davis for field experiments, and found eco-friendly solutions to pests.

Meet the Research Associate Dean for the Natural Sciences

Douglas O. Richstone

Associate Dean for Natural Sciences, Lawrence H. Aller Collegiate Professor of Astronomy

Faculty Profile

Among the many distinctions in Douglas Richstone’s career is leading the team that produced a fundamental astronomical insight – that most galaxies have a supermassive black hole at their center. As a member and then leader of the Nuker Team, Richstone has spent decades assessing dynamics at the center of nearby galaxies. By blending high-resolution observations with computational models of the motions of stars in gravitational fields, his team has determined the mass of black holes in a variety of galaxy types. Richstone is also interested in the dynamics of collisionless fluids and the estimation of cosmological model parameters.

Units in the Natural Sciences

Applied Physics Program

Research in Applied Physics tackles the fundamentals of modern physics while exploring applications in the context of various branches of engineering, bio and medical science, chemistry, geology, environmental science, natural resources and public policy.


Research in the department falls into three broad categories - Cosmology, Extragalatic, & Galactic; Extreme Astrophysics; and Stars & Exoplanets - with many faculty members spanning more than one area.

Biological Station

The core mission of the University of Michigan Biological Station is to advance environmental field research, engage students in scientific discovery using ecosystems and their organismal constituents as objects of study, and provide information needed to better understand and sustain natural systems at local through global scales.


The Chemistry Department has 6 major research areas: Analytical Chemistry, Chemical Biology, Inorganic Chemistry, Materials Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, and Physical Chemistry.

Complex Systems

The Center for the Study of Complex Systems (CSCS) is a broadly interdisciplinary program whose mission is to encourage and facilitate research and education in the general area of nonlinear, dynamical and adaptive systems.

Earth & Environmental Sciences

The research mission of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Michigan is to understand the origin, evolution, and future of the Earth.

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

The Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology embraces research on virtually all aspects of biodiversity, including: origins and history of species ranging from bacteria to humans, processes by which this diversity has evolved, and ecological context in which this evolution takes place.


Mathematics is as much a science of form as it is of number. The core areas of research are Analysis, Algebra, Geometry/Topology, and Applied Mathematics.

Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology

MCDB conducts basic research about the function of all branches of life — bacteria, plants, and animals.

Museum of Paleontology

Paleontology is the branch of science devoted to study of the history and meaning of life through geological time.


Core groups of faculty pursue scholarship in basic and applied research, biophysics and complexity with state-of-the-art laboratory and information-technology facilities.


Biophysicists at Michigan are working in the fields of Structural Biology, Spectroscopy and Microscopy, Computational Biophysics and Bioinformatics, and Biophysical Chemistry.

Program in the Environment

The Program in the Environment (PitE) is distinguished by its environmental subject matter and its interdisciplinary and practical approach.


Faculty members in Statistics have traditionally had strong interests in several areas of theoretical statistics and methodology.


Natural Sciences Research Resources