- Understanding basic geophysical processes governing the planet Earth, especially as they occur in or are relevant to Alaska;
- Training graduates and undergraduates to play leading scientific roles in tomorrow's society;
- Solving applied geophysical problems and developing related technologies of importance to the state and the nation;
- Satisfying the intellectual and technological needs of fellow Alaskans through public service.
At the Geophysical Institute the diversity of our research focus is reflected by our disciplinary-based, functional groupings of faculty and research staff. These divisions are: space physics and aeronomy, atmospheric sciences, snow, ice, and permafrost, seismology, volcanology, and tectonics and sedimentation. Along with an ubiquitous, cross-discipline remote sensing group, these research divisions reflect the range and diversity of the active scientific research projects which reach from the center of the sun to the center of the earth and beyond.
A large part of the success of the Geophysical Institute is attributable to the support staff and their expert services. These include a research library, machine and electronic shops, computer resource center, digital design center, geodata center, map office, operations, business, human resource, proposal and public information offices.
The Geophysical Institute has several large facilities. The largest is a satellite ground station and associated processing and archiving center called the Alaska Satellite Facility which is funded by various federal, local, and private entities. Radar images produced here enable the all-weather study of sea ice, earthquakes, volcanoes, and regularly provide hazard-management products for agencies such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Ice Center. Through the International Observatory of the North, optical images of the Arctic from NASA and NOAA satellites are received and processed to support remote sensing research and data services to the state. The Poker Flat Research Range, the only university-owned rocket range in the world, is a NASA-supported launch site for suborbital space flight. The Alaska Earthquake Information Center operates a regional network of over 300 seismometers and reports more than 50 earthquakes a day occurring within the state. The Alaska Volcano Observatory maintains a continual watch for eruptions and ash clouds. Together with the United States Geological Survey, warnings are issued to pilots for avoidance of aviation hazards.
For students who would like to work with us, we have graduate assistantships in collaboration with departments in the College of Engineering and Mines and the College of Natural Science and Mathematics. Applications for acceptance within graduate programs can be sent to the atmospheric science program, and departments of chemistry, electrical engineering, geology and geophysics and physics. Recent graduates with an MS or PhD who would like to begin their careers at the Geophysical Institute can send letters of interest to me. There are opportunities for post doctoral and research associate positions opening on a frequent basis.
Today, the GI employs 127 faculty and staff and 120 graduate and undergraduate students. The institute operates with an annual budget of roughly $35 million.