Antarctica

Cardman in her NASA gear.
Robert Markowitz / NASA

Zena Cardman knew she might not have another opportunity to pursue poetry. She was about to dive into graduate research on microbiology in extreme environments when she put that plan on ice, and opted to write a poetry collection for her undergraduate thesis at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Alex Dornburg scuba diving
Courtesy of Alex Dornburg

By modeling the evolutionary biology of ray-finned fishes, Alex Dornburg is answering an array of cross-disciplinary questions. His research on fish’s “tree of life” has applications for creating public health reporting systems, fighting antibiotic resistance, directing reforestation efforts in Madagascar and overturning understanding of biodiversity in Antarctica. 

An image from Ice Music, photographed by UNC Professor Brooks de Wetter-Smith within a Swiss glacier
Brooks de Wetter Smith / Ice Music

 After numerous trips to Antarctica, Brooks de Wetter-Smith developed a fascination with ice. He says this overlooked necessity gives us water and supports our rivers. But it is not just utilitarian. The element is visually-magnificent, and creates unique sounds as it transforms from ice to water. 

Brooks described to Host Frank Stasio what it was like exploring Antarctica, a massive icy landscape, and how that made him think twice about the ice back home.