Frontier Scientists

Photo by Astronaut Jeff Williams, NASA Earth Observatory

The Frontier Scientists blog is for travelers, teachers, students, aspiring scientists, and anyone interested in scientific discovery in the Alaskan arctic.

Come here for videos, photos and summaries that put you in the front row for breaking scientific news in the Far North. Research by our team of Alaska-based scientists includes 10,000-year-old archeological finds, photos of active Cook Inlet volcanoes taken from the space station, climate change, Denali Park’s grizzlies, the nexus of Russian and native artistic traditions, and more.

Come along as scientists themselves are startled by the unexpected in field locations so remote researchers are often the first modern visitors to set foot in them.

Contact Liz O’Connell at

What I learned this Earth Day, 2014 - 4/22/2014 7:16 pm

Predicting the effect of anomalous sea ice loss and increasing sea surface temperatures on global storm systems - 4/15/2014 8:48 pm

The ground changing under our feet – Thermokarsts - 4/8/2014 2:24 pm

Snowy Owl Irruption - 4/2/2014 7:40 am

Tram Powered International Tundra Experiment - 3/25/2014 5:40 pm

Modeling shifting oceanscapes; a collective pursuit - 3/18/2014 6:29 pm

Iditarod sled dogs’ fat burning capabilities - 3/12/2014 11:04 pm

68 million ton landslide in Alaska: Mount La Perouse - 3/5/2014 7:34 pm

Alaska’s Ned Rozell reads in SF at Writers With Drinks

Snowmobiles: OsopolarSnowmobiles: Osopolar

Liz O'Connell for Frontier Scientists

Who isn’t thirsty when it comes to good prose? Ongoing San Francisco’s Writers With Drinks mixes it up Saturday, December 8, 2012, at the Make-Out Room, 7:30pm.

Ned Rozell, science writer from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, will read from his book Finding Mars. Rozell joins SF luminaries Amy Tan (Joy Luck Club, The Valley of Amazement), Nalo Hopkinson (Blackheart Man, Midnight Robber), Jason Roberts (A Sense of the World: How a Blind Man Became History's Greatest Traveler), Michael Krasny (KQED's Forum, Spiritual Envy: An Agnostic's Quest), and Emanuel Xavier (Americano- Growing Up Gay and Latino in the USA).

If you're sensing something different here— it is San Francisco different. Back in 2001, writer Charlie Jane Anders set out to create a new kind of reading that jettisoned the idea of a hushed audience hanging reverentially on each carefully-crafted word, replacing it with a lively cabaret night, drawing writers from a smorgasbord of genres: poetry to sci-fi to comedy to kids books. On a recent evening, heavyweight storyteller Tobias Wolff mixed it up with slam poet Taylor Mali, New York Times bestselling novelist Lev Grossman and National Public Radio contributor Andrew Lam. Since San Francisco doesn't slack when it comes to local and national celebrity authors, Writers With Drinks often sparkles with names like Lemony Snicket, Armistead Maupin, Andrew Sean Greer, Ayelet Waldman, Vendela Vida and Michelle Tea.

Ned Rozell, attending the American Geophysical Union conference this week in San Francisco, will fit right in with the ranks of creative authors. The star of his book Finding Mars is Kenji Yoshikawa, also known as “Tunnel Man” in Fairbanks, Alaska. The self-made video Tunnel Man "Episode 1: Ice in Permafrost" by Kenji highlights a part of his essence: permafrost science.

Ice Pressure Ridge: NASAIce Pressure Ridge: NASA

Rozell portrays Kenji Yoshikawa as a man driven not just by the desire to fill in the blank spots on a map, but by a wish to learn everything he can about them— a ringing testament to the power of science, enthusiasm, and individual inspiration. To understand Yoshikawa’s drive, Rozell joined him on a 750-mile trek by snowmobile through the Alaskan wilderness. And the rest of the story is Finding Mars.

So stop in, listen to some wild Alaskan words, and chase it all with a stiff drink.

Learn even more about Permafrost at Frontier Scientists.

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