Thursday, June 24, 2010


Staying at the University of Alaska Fairbanks where Dave and Jill are teaching for the summer. Spent the last few days putzing around - definitely a slower pace than the previous week. I think Scott and the boys are enjoying the slowdown, but it makes me antsy. While here we've hit all the science highlights - visited the UAF Museum of the North (great movies on auroras and Alaska in winter), 2 hour tour of the Geophysical Institute (the Alaska Satellite Facility and the Alaska Volcano Observatory) and toured the Large Animal Research Station where they study musk ox and caribou. Which leads to the question, why study musk ox and caribou? Lots of answers but the most interesting one is a super efficient bacterium found only in the rumen of musk ox that has implications for the development biofuels out of straw. Yes, that is interesting to me. Met a middle school teacher that is a very promising lead on developing some collaborative projects between 7 Hills and Fairbanks students. That makes me happy :0)

The housing complex we're staying in was built specifically for native students. The circular arrangement of the units is a more familiar community structure. Signs are written in both English and native languages (nor sure if this is Athabascan, Inupiat, or what). Efforts by the college to make native students feel at home are very important as many students drop out because of pressure or the desire to return to their families.

"The Place Where You Go To Listen" at the Museum of the North. Lights and sounds constantly respond to and represent the movement of the sun and moon, and seismic and auroral activity. An interesting concept but you'd have to have a lot of time and patience to notice much change. I definitely lack the patience.

Large Animal Research Station

Large Animal

Monitoring the data coming in from satellites at the Alaska Satellite Facility. A lonely job but it seems to suit this guy well - didn't even acknowledge us in the room.

Another lonely job evidenced by this guy talking to us for 2 hours about monitoring volcano activity using remote sensing. It was interesting...for the first hour.

Scott and Dave went fishing last night up near Chena Springs. Both caught 2 Arctic Grayling and saw at least a dozen moose - one of which followed them to the car. Home at 3 AM - still light out.