The Ohio State University Alumni Association

10 really cool things

Here’s your need-to-know list for the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center.

Ohio State’s Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center is recognized around the world as a leader in polar and alpine research. Focus areas include climatic reconstruction using ice cores and ocean sediment cores, modeling of polar weather and climate, studying glacier and ice sheet dynamics, monitoring frozen and liquid water using satellite and aerial platforms, examining geochemistry in polar environments, and documenting the history of polar exploration. You can witness its expertise firsthand during a public tour or event.

In the meantime, here are 10 cool things about the center to pique your interest:


The university’s oldest research center, it was established by Richard Goldthwait in 1960 as the Institute of Polar Studies.


The weather station and SkyCam, located atop Scott Hall, show real-time conditions on West Campus and provide valuable data for meteorologists.



The center’s Polar Meteorology Group was instrumental in developing a weather forecast model for Antarctica that is critical for landing planes and assisting in rescue missions.


The 25-year-old Polar Archival Program — a collaboration of the Byrd center and University Libraries — houses papers, photographs, film, diaries and artifacts of early polar exploration, including the papers of Admiral Richard E. Byrd.


The Byrd center boasts a larger-than-life statue of Admiral Byrd (1888–1957), one of the world’s foremost polar explorers. Sculptor Felix deWeldon, famous for the Marine Corps War Memorial showing servicemen raising the U.S. flag after the Battle of Iwo Jima, created the statue’s mold. A version can be found along Memorial Avenue in Arlington County, Virginia.


The center’s Goldthwait Polar Library offers a permanent display of carvings by Inuit artists and rare polar exploration books by famous Arctic and Antarctic explorers. Some date to the early 1800s.


The center’s Glacier Environmental Change Research Group developed drone technology that allows for flight at 16,000 feet above sea level.


A sediment core storage facility houses several oceanic cores from the Arctic Ocean, most dating back hundreds of thousand of years. The oldest cores contain sediment deposited about a million and a half years ago.


The Polar Rock Repository houses 34,000 rock samples collected by U.S. research teams in the Arctic and Antarctic regions.


(and by far the coolest thing about the Byrd Center)

The freezers, set at -30 degrees Fahrenheit and storing about four-and-a-half miles of ice cores, contain samples collected during 58 expeditions to all corners of the planet, including Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa.


Lessons from a friend


Innovation in the Andes

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