For over 25 years, Dr. Larry Wiedman has led teams of high school and college students in documenting changes in the land and sea environments of Andros Island in the Bahamas. They are particularly interested in studying coral reefs but are intent on not influencing the very changes they are trying to study. Dr. Wiedman is a professor in the biology department at the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Dr. David Mullins, Earthzine‘s Associate Editor for Education, interviewed Dr. Wiedman about the project and his thoughts about educating future generations of Earth observers.
For centuries, maps have stirred imaginations and inspired explorations of the unknown. For the past 40 years, GIS has quietly transformed everyday decision making in academia, government, nonprofit, and in business through the manipulation of satellite imagery, maps, graphs, databases, and multimedia in a decision-making framework. Agriculture was one of the first fields to embrace GIS, applied to everything from precision agriculture to invasive weed eradication to sustainable practices.
In Korown, an Uttar Pradesh India farming village where little has changed for hundreds of years, a 21st century school opened its doors for the first time in July to 100 girls and boys in grades 1-4, 6, and 7. Kuruom vidyalaya is the bricks-and-mortar embodiment of the Hindu goddess Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, and testimony to one man’s spirit and commitment. That man is Bal Ram Singh, Ph.D., 51, once a child of the village and now a successful biophysical chemist at a U.S. university (University of Massachusetts Dartmouth) and director of its Center for Indic Studies, who built the school himself without government assistance. Deeply engaged as a Hindu, a family man, a professor, research scientist, and a U.S. citizen, he is also determined to prove that “one little man” can change the status-quo in India for the better.
Josiane Zerubia is a director of research, first class, at INRIA, the premiere French public research institute in applied mathematics and computer science. Her contributions to Markovian modeling in image processing and remote sensing were recognized by IEEE with her elevation to Fellow in 2003. But her story really begins in Cannes, France where she was taught at an early age by her mother Jeanne and grandmother Louise that she could do whatever she wanted if she worked hard enough. La Vie de Josiane Zerubia: A Modern Woman of Science begins here.
As the international remote sensing community readies the 2009 IGARSS in Cape Town, South Africa this July, Earthzine recalls last summer’s conference in Boston, Massachusetts with this Featured Person interview with Dr. Barrett N. “Barry” Rock, professor of forestry, botany and remote sensing in the Complex Systems Research Center and the Department of Natural Resources at the University of New Hampshire. Barry Rock exemplifies IEEE’s mission to put science and technology to work for the benefit of humanity and Earth. He has “grown” a network of hundreds of students and teachers in Forest Watch, the outreach program he founded in 1991 in order to scientifically track the effects of U.S. efforts to diminish the damage of air pollution on human health and vegetation. In Boston, he demonstrated the Forest Watch model of university/K-12 partnership and IEEE scientific/community outreach at the 2008 IEEE International Geosciences and Remote Sensing Symposium.
Earthzine’s Editor-In-Chief Paul Racette speaks with Dr. Gregory Cajete – a Tewa Indian from Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico and author of five books on Native American education, history and philosophy – about Native American science and the role Indigenous perspectives have in realizing an integrated Earth observing system.
For perspective on biodiversity loss and the data management challenges facing the CBD, Earthzine contributor Peter Fairley interviewed Kalemani Joseph Mulongoy by telephone at the CBD Secretariat in Montreal. Since 1999, Mr. Mulongoy has served as Principal Officer in charge of the Secretariat’s Scientific, Technical and Technological Matters Division.
How and why does the Sun’s energy change, and how does the Earth respond? We care about these changes, and seek improved understanding of their causes and consequences. We do this because society urgently seeks to quantify anthropogenic and natural causes of climate change, because we are increasingly reliant on the technological benefits of space assets, and because we utilize and explore extensive environmental domains well beyond the surface where we live.