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January 13, 2014

Mathematician combines love for numbers and passion for sea ice to forecast melting

New mathematical methods can be applied broadly to climate, medicine, aircraft design and more

People don't usually think of mathematics as an occupation that requires survival skills, but they might change their minds if they saw Kenneth Golden and his daring research team in action!

The mathematician has spent the past 40 years studying sea ice in the north and south Polar Regions. With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), he and his team at the University of Utah are developing mathematical formulas to help scientists make more accurate predictions about how quickly sea ice will melt as our planet continues to warm. And, the mathematical methods developed from the research in these rugged places can be applied broadly, from designing stealthier planes to practicing better medicine.

The research in this episode was supported by NSF award #1009704, Phase Transitions in Composite Media; NSF award #0940249, Collaborative Research: Mathematics and Climate Research Network; and NSF award #0934721, COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH: Mathematics and Electromagnetics for Monitoring Transport Processes in Sea Ice and funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Miles O'Brien, Science Nation Correspondent
Marsha Walton, Science Nation Producer

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations presented in this material are only those of the presenter grantee/researcher, author, or agency employee; and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.