Environmental education and research have deep roots at Carolina, but a lot has changed since the natural sciences came to campus almost 200 years ago. From the creation of a sanitary engineering department to relationships stoked by the internet, environmental study at UNC has evolved into a hotbed of research, education, and community outreach.
The Odum Institute, the first social science research center in the world, has trained and supported hundreds of researchers specializing in everything from anthropology to city and regional planning to public health for the past 95 years. And it all exists thanks to the determination of one eccentric man.
From the shores of New Jersey to the North Carolina coast, Pete Peterson has always loved the ocean. He's spent nearly five decades researching its marine life, fighting for its protection, and guiding the next generation of marine scientists to do the same.
The Carolina Population Center is in it for the long haul. The 52-year-old institution leads data-driven studies that span decades, enriching population research across the world.
Cherokee language resources. Dean Smith’s personal papers. A first-person account of an enslaved woman. For more than a century, UNC researchers and libraries have collected millions of southern artifacts and documents — making Carolina a hub for the study of the American South.
Alice Ammerman is a powerful force for nutrition research and community-based health promotion. Her nearly 40-year career heavily influences her personal approach to public health; by establishing relationships with community partners and making an effort to understand the context of community health, she aims to form lasting connections and accomplish real change.
Ever since the Wright brothers flew at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina has proudly proclaimed to be “first in flight." Less well-known is Carolina’s connection to deep space — from the first astronomical observatory on a college campus, to the first planetarium in the South, to one of the first administrators at NASA, UNC scientists have long been connected to and inspired by the night sky.
When Fred Sanger figured out how to sequence DNA in 1975, the world changed — and so did UNC. As more and more scientists dove headfirst into the field of genetics, the university realized the need for a department dedicated to this cause. Since its founding in 2000, the UNC Department of Genetics has continuously made the top-five list of NIH program funding and has grown to include 80 faculty, who have taken the world of research and medicine by storm.
The major political events of the 1960s set the stage for the founding of the UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, which forever changed education research and practice.
Smarter. Healthier. Better prepared for the world. Those are just a few of the benefits early childhood education can have over the course of a lifetime — benefits made evident by the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute’s Abecedarian Project researchers, who have spent the past 45 years following up with their original research subjects.