About the GI

The diversity of research at the Geophysical Institute is reflected in our discipline-based, functional groupings of faculty and research staff. These divisions are: space physics and aeronomy; atmospheric sciences; snow, ice, and permafrost; seismology; volcanology; tectonics and sedimentation; and cross-discipline satellite remote sensing. These research divisions reflect the range and diversity of active GI scientific research projects, which reach from the surface of the sun to the center of the earth and beyond. Our 60 faculty members, together with approximately 80 graduate students and 40 associated undergraduates, carry out research projects at high latitudes relating to our location within the Arctic. Together with the support services at the Geophysical Institute, these research activities have a budget of about $35M annually.

A large part of the success of the GI 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 GI includes several large facilities. The Alaska Satellite Facility, a satellite ground station and associated processing and archiving center, is the largest. Radar images produced here enable the all-weather study of sea ice, earthquakes and volcanoes, and regularly provide hazard-management products for agencies such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Ice Center. 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 Center operates a regional network of over 400 seismometers and reports on more than 50 earthquakes a day occurring within the state. The Alaska Volcano Observatory maintains a continual watch for eruptions and ash clouds. Working with our partners at the United States Geological Survey and the Alaska Department of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, warnings are issued to pilots for avoidance of aviation hazards.

For students who would like to work with us, we can offer 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 departments of atmospheric science, chemistry, electrical engineering, geology and geophysics and physics. Recent graduates with a master's or doctoral degree who would like to begin their careers at the Geophysical Institute may send letters of interest to the Geophysical Institute's director. There are opportunities for post doctoral and research associate positions on a frequent basis.