Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Ice Arch

Every winter the Civil Engineering students, along with the American Society for Civil Engineers and the Association of General Contractors, build an ice arch on campus. The students design the arch themselves and so therefore it is a little bit different every year. This year the ice arch stands 20 feet 6 inches tall and is 20 feet at the base. The arch is still in progress, so that is why you can see the wooden structure underneath the ice, but as soon as it is complete, the wooden structure will be removed and the arch is expected to stand on its own. Keep checking in for updates on the ice arch progress.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Uh, yes, it does get cold sometimes...

For some, Fairbanks' extreme weather is an attraction. When I first came up to Fairbanks from Michigan, the novelty of -20 degrees was bigger and brighter than any inconvenience it caused. For others, the cold is something to be endured. My take on it is that Fairbanksans should look at our winter weather as just one more reason that your experience at UAF is like nowhere else--in a good way. Where else can be on the sidelines for the start of a 1000-mile sled dog race? Or view top entries from the World Ice Art Championships? You can't do it without a little cold.

Here's something else you can only do in Fairbanks' occasional extreme cold snaps. At -20 degrees Farenheit or colder, you can take a cup of boiling water, throw it into the air, and watch it vaporize in an amazing display. If the outside temperature is cold enough, little or none of the water will hit the ground. In the picture to the left, I was tossing boiling water into -40 degree air. That's just one coffee cup's worth of water there. Now, where else can you do that?

Monday, February 18, 2008

International Polar Year

What year starts in March and is two years long? The International Polar Year! The fourth of its kind, with the original stretching back to 1882, the International Polar Year (IPY) is two years of focused research on the polar regions of the globe. Previous IPYs have focused on exploration, weather, and the workings of the earth as a whole system. In this IPY researchers are looking at global climate change, especially at how changes at the poles can be a barometer for the rest of the planet. Another distinctive of this IPY is the interdisciplinary approach being used: Besides cross-referencing studies on sea ice with those on meteorology with those on glaciology with…scientists are also looking at the physical, social, cultural, and political aspects of climate change.

This is an exciting time to be a student at UAF, perfectly positioned to allow students to take part in special seminars and lectures, undergraduate research, and international exchange opportunities through the fourth International Polar Year! To learn more, visit

The Yukon Quest

The Yukon Quest- the world's toughest sled dog race- took place this past week here in the interior. Mushers started from Fairbanks, AK and ended in Whitehorse, located in the Yukon territory. Temperatures were in the 40-below zero range when mushers started, but one of our hearty co-workers Lael bundled up to get us a few nice photos and a few video clips. Check them out below and find out more about this incredible race at

The starting line.

Getting ready to pull.

Some of the dogs prepare mentally.

And they're off!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Really Big Bears

This is me with a Kodiak Bear! Kodiak bears live on Kodiak Island in Southwest Alaska. These bears are the world's largest bear! I had the pleasure of visiting Kodiak High School last week and had my picture taken with this bear. (All the other bears were hibernating for the winter.) Here at UAF we have quite a lot of students who come from Kodiak and we love them all. For more information on Kodiak Island, visit

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

My favorite time of year

Yes, that is true! Winter is my favorite time of year. I love the snow and the ice sculptures. The ice carvers are so talented. This is me posing with one of many ice sculptures on campus. This "ice Nanook" greets you as you come onto campus from Geist road. I can't wait for the International Ice Art Championships coming up at the end of the month. Keep an eye out for more awesome ice art photos. Oh, if you want to know more about the Ice Art Championships visit: