Welcome to the Soil and Terrestrial Environmental Physics

Soil and Terrestrial Environmental Physics (STEP)

Previous seminars

Investigating entrapped air effects on water flow and solute transport

Date : Monday, May 14
Time : 13h00 to 14h00
Location: CHN Building, Room P12


How do freezing and thermal gradients damage steep alpine rock-walls?

Date : Tuesday, March 27th
Time : 14:00
Location : CHN P 12, ETH Zürich
Speaker : Lucas Girard, Department of Geography, University of Zurich
Download : How do freezing...


"Theory of Pendular Rings Revisited"
Date: February 14th (2012)
Time: 10:30 to 11:30
Location: CHN building, room E 46, ETH Zurich
Speaker: Prof. Dr. Leonid Fel, Department of Civil and  Environmental Engineering, Technion, Haifa, Israel


"Experimental and Numerical Study of drying in porous media in the presence of gravity"
Date : Nov. 22 (2011)
Time : 14:30 to 15:30
Location : CHN building, room P12, ETH Zurich
Speaker : Andreas Yiotis, Laboratory FAST (Fluides, Automatique et Systèmes Thermiques), Campus Universitaire, Orsay Cedex, France. Abstract and map are attached.

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Click here to view STEP members list of publications

Newest publications

The Soil and Terrestrial Environmental Physics (STEP) research group endeavours to generate new knowledge and provide scientific bases for understanding, quantifying and predicting key processes taking place in soils and in other interlinked terrestrial compartments of the biosphere. STEP focuses on establishing links across disciplinary boundaries required for addressing complex issues that lie at interfaces between the physical environment and biological activity (microbial activity, plant function), or interfacial processes controlling mass and energy exchange between terrestrial surfaces and the atmosphere. We pursue fundamental approaches to problem solving that combine theory with experiments and emphasize quantitative and measurable solutions. We at STEP are committed to excellence and highest ethical conduct in our endeavors, and strive to maintain a stimulating and rewarding educational and research environment.

As members of the Institute of Terrestrial  Ecosystems ( and the Department of Environmental Systems Science at ETHZ ( our research and education are aimed at fostering meaningful links between resource managers, educators and environmental policy makers to better address contemporary challenges related to changing patterns in climate, population, and natural resources use and availability


STEP is a relatively new research group at ETH comprised of 15 scientific, technical and administrative collaborators working together to meet our group's mission and serve our students and enhance knowledge is various aspects of environmental physics.

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Click to learn more on a range of ongoing research activities carried out by STEP members.

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STEP offers several courses focusing on Vadose Zone Hydrology and Soil Physics as well as Spatial Statistics and other practical courses serving the curricula of D-USYS and D-BAUG. We offer well-structured websites for each course with lectures, class notes and additional reading materials.

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