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Arctic & Antarctic Discoveries

NSF's public investment in science, engineering, education and technology helps to create knowledge and sustain prosperity. Read here about the Internet, microbursts, Web browsers, extrasolar planets, and more... a panoply of discoveries and innovations that began with NSF support.

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inaugural national science board members wearing party hats It's our birthday!
A celebration of NSF-funded research
Released  May 10, 2016
animation showing a salamander strolling Earth's weird and wonderful animal models
Simple creatures reveal fundamental biological insights
Released  April 21, 2016
earth day infographic Infographic: Earth Day at NSF
NSF investments help us understand and protect the environment
Released  April 18, 2016
diver under water Video: Changing ocean chemistry may threaten Antarctic food chain
To monitor changes, researchers deploy automated ocean sensors around McMurdo Sound, Antarctica
Released  March 24, 2016
Generic Discovery Image Pioneering women in STEM -- how many do you know?
This Women's History Month, test your knowledge of some of the most incredible scientists and engineers that have paved the way for modern scientific exploration
Released  March 11, 2016
France Cordova and Gabriela Gonzalez at LIGO Celebrating women in science and engineering
NSF Director shares her thoughts on Women's History Month
Released  March 3, 2016
man and child look at a rain gauge in a driveway Be a (citizen) scientist!
A celebration of open science and innovation
Released  September 30, 2015
undergraduate student acqu with a gravitometer in a port Geomagnetic reversal: Understanding ancient flips and flops in Earth's polarity
Researcher boards R/V Sikuliaq to gather data about Earth's geomagnetic history
Released  December 19, 2014
image of penguins near the ocean water Adélie Penguins Cope With Climate Change
Facing the future: it all depends on sea ice
Released  February 6, 2013
Image of Roald Amundsen. A Legacy of the Race to the South Pole: New Scientific Discoveries in Antarctica
Forbidding though Antarctica is, the stations located there are nevertheless irresistibly inviting to scientists, as Antarctica supports a cornucopia of unique life-forms, geologic wonders, and marine and atmospheric conditions
Released  May 31, 2012
Photo of a student observing patterns of flowering and pollinators. Novel Answer to That Perennial "Earth Day" Question: "What Can I Do to Help?"
Groups of citizen scientists are making pivotal contributions to research on the Earth, its place in the universe and other natural phenomena
Released  April 19, 2012
Model simulation of carbon monoxide in the middle and upper troposphere in March-April 2010. A HIPPO Takes to the Skies to Taste Earth's Atmosphere
The HIAPER Pole-to-Pole Observation (HIPPO) project generated an extraordinarily detailed mapping of the global distribution of greenhouse gases, black carbon and related chemical species in the atmosphere
Released  October 25, 2011
Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears logo. Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears Covers Diverse Scientific Themes and Lessons
SPORE-award winning online magazine provides teachers with lessons about the polar regions and beyond
Released  August 31, 2011
Photo of Gregory Lehn and Matt Knhosh talking with co-principal investigator Jim McClelland. Permafrost Could Be Climate's Ticking Time Bomb
Researchers conduct fieldwork to track permafrost melting in Alaska and gain insight about the release of carbon into the atmosphere
Released  August 5, 2009
Photo of Randy Davis discussing his research on Weddell seals. More and More Scientists Serve Up Science for Mass Consumption
Scientists use innovative, barrier-busting methods to educate the public and decision-makers about cutting-edge science
Released  March 16, 2009
Eight thumbnail images and 2008 in Review 2008: Year in Review
A look back at some of the NSF-supported advances and activities that made news last year
Released  March 13, 2009
Researchers collect data in Greenland. Researchers Peek Under Ice Sheets for Clues on Climate Change
Synthetic aperture radar technology provides world-class data
Released  December 18, 2008
Photo of the researchers' field camp in Greenland. Glacier Movement Limits How Fast Sea Level Can Rise
Study finds 3 to 6 feet by 2100 possible
Released  September 18, 2008
Photo of emperor penguins approaching field camp at Cape Washington, Antarctica A Season at the Penguin Ranch in Antarctica
A veteran Antarctic researcher talks about the whys and hows of studying the diving physiology and behavior of emperor penguins on the "Ice"
Released  May 19, 2008
Photo of the view from the driver's seat, or the "bridge," on the R/V Roger Revelle. For Better or Worse, Modern Ocean Explorers Stay Connected
Improvements in shipboard communications mean scientists can keep in constant touch, even when their research takes them to remote locations
Released  April 28, 2008
Photo shows Gretchen Hofmann and Tom Crombia carrying out a "field repair" on the rover. High School Students Build Antarctic Submersible
Two female high school graduates build an underwater, camera-equipped "rover" that can operate beneath polar ice
Released  April 14, 2008
2007 In Review 2007: Year in Review
A look back at some of the NSF-supported advances and activities reported last year
Released  January 30, 2008
Photo shows Sam Bowser holding a sea star found at McMurdo Sound. Clues to Waterproof Glue Found in Antarctic Creature
Understanding how forams build their shells could lead to stronger biological adhesives
Released  January 2, 2008
Photo shows group of children with 5000-year-old mud on snowy surface Getting to the Core of Climate Change
Graduate student tells how University at Buffalo geologists communicate their research on climatic change and its impact to local people
Released  October 26, 2007
Ice shelf and sea Demise of Antarctic Ice Shelf Reveals New Life
A research expedition to the site of the former Larsen B ice shelf leads to the discovery of an underwater habitat surviving in the most extreme conditions
Released  July 26, 2007
2006 in Review 2006: Year in Review
A look back at some of the NSF-supported activities highlighted last year
Released  January 9, 2007
NSF South Pole research station Cold Flashes: Astrophysics at the South Pole
What one scientist calls the world’s weirdest telescope was built to detect high-energy particles, not the light from distant stars. In 1997, AMANDA recorded the first precise map of neutrinos from outer space as they zipped through Antarctic ice.
Released  October 13, 2004
Photo of seal with fish in its mouth Scientists Use Seals as "Underwater Eyes"
By employing Weddell seals as "spies" through novel use of technology, Antarctic researchers have gained new insights into the behavior of two little-known fish species.
Released  July 30, 2004
researcher in lab Arctic Carbon a Potential Wild Card in Climate Change Scenarios
An international team of scientists has determined that most of the 28 million tons of carbon that enters the Arctic Ocean each year is young and unlikely to affect the global climate balance. However, Arctic warming trends could change the equation.
Released  July 30, 2004
Scientists drill into frozen Siberian peat bogs to determine the bogs' impact on climate. Arctic Thaw May Release Greenhouse Gases from Siberian Peat Bogs
Siberian peat bogs, the frozen home of untold kilometers of moss and hordes of mosquitoes, are huge repositories for gases that are thought to play an important role in the Earth's climate balance, according to a team of U.S. and Russian scientists.
Released  July 27, 2004

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