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.
Location We are on the "Blue Zone" section of the University of Alaska Fairbanks maps; follow the link to learn about the different buildings, see close ups and a different map view.
For general information contact the Geophysical Institute Outreach Office
903 Koyukuk Drive
University of Alaska
Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320
The Directory contains a list of
Proud participants in the International Polar Year!
Geophysical Institute scientists participated in the International Polar Year of 1957-1958, also known as the International Geophysical Year, and the International Polar Year of 2007-2008. IPYs are designated internationally for intense study of Earth’s polar regions. As a result of the research conducted at these points in history, giant scientific strides have occurred.
In IPY of 1957-1958, the theory of continental drift was confirmed, the Van Allen radiation belt was discovered by a United States satellite, and the size of Antarctica’s ice mass was first estimated. As a result of the work scientists from GI conducted in the 1950s, the institute gained international prominence. Some of the institute’s faculty that were here in the late 1950s were able to participate in their second IPY in 2007-2008.
Data collected from IPY of ‘07-’08 continues to be analyzed, but the GI is now an international leader for studies in atmospheric sciences, snow, ice and permafrost; earthquakes, volcanoes, space physics and more.