Earth

Earth: Exploring Our Planet

Speaking Math

Imagine a sentence so long that it would take an entire lifetime to read it — that’s the kind of problem Joaquín Drut faces every day. The UNC physicist works with numbers too large to compute in an effort to better understand the way our universe works.

Career Aquatic

At the end of his 40-year career at the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences, Dive Safety Officer Glenn Safrit reflects on the most important lessons he learned — and taught — in the ocean.

Generating Power Like Plants

When plants absorb sunlight, they convert carbon dioxide into energy-rich organic compounds. What if humans could do the same thing? What if we could pull CO2 out of the air and use it to build organic molecules? This revolutionary idea is still just that — an idea. But organic chemists at UNC are laying the groundwork for turning it into reality.

Go with the Flow

Streambeds act as natural water filters by trapping particles and pollutants. To better understand the dynamics of these small yet complex systems, a UNC hydrologist is creating (and clogging) her own stream.

A Day in the Life of a Dolphin Researcher

Since she was 14 years old, Liah McPherson has studied the lives of wild dolphins. This past summer, the freediving fanatic and UNC junior worked as a field assistant with The Wild Dolphin Project in the northern Bahamas — where she photographed and researched four generations of Atlantic spotted dolphins.

CURE-ious Chemistry

Chemistry undergraduates are developing their own research questions and projects in a new class at UNC, thanks to the drive and dedication of organic chemistry professor Nita Eskew.

Decades of Discovery

For 70 years, the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences, located in Morehead City, has provided a home for Carolina scientists — from undergraduate students to tenured professors — to study the complex marine and coastal systems of North Carolina and beyond.

The Earth is Our Laboratory

UNC earth scientists have crossed oceans and traveled to far-away continents to pursue their research, as well as studied natural systems right here in North Carolina. In celebration of Earth Science Week, check out where they’ve been and what they’ve been up to.

Water Over the Bridge

From the competitive ports of China, to the innovative flood gates of the Netherlands, to the shifting sands of the Outer Banks, the sea creeps farther up the coastline every single day, and the distance between the top of the water and the bottom of bridges decreases — a major issue for port economies. UNC American studies professor Rachel Willis searches for solutions to help these communities cope with the impact of sea-level rise.

The Guava Hunter

From the time he was a child, Bryan Reatini has always held an inherent fascination for the natural world. Now, as he pursues his PhD in biology, Reatini has the unique opportunity to collect data from one of the most distinct ecosystems in the world — the Galápagos Islands.