An Arctic Adventure Awaits

Imagine spending up to two weeks in the northernmost town in the United States, where wind-chilled temperatures can reach -50 degrees Fahrenheit, aurora borealis dance across the sky and “bunny boots” are the most popular and fashionable footwear choice.

Dr. Rhett Herman, professor of physics and adjunct professor of geology, is offering 12 Radford University students and two Governor’s School students the incredible opportunity to conduct research in Utqiagvik, Alaska between February 29 and March 14, 2020

While navigating sea ice and polar bear territory, the group will test contraptions the students develop and build for research that contributes to the methodology of studying the thermal balance of our planet.

Applications being accepted

Accepted students are required to take the one-credit-hour PHYS 324 fall preporatory course, which begins the seventh week of the fall 2019 semester. Accepted students are also required to take PHYS 325 at the start of the spring 2020 semester.  

View the Geophysical Field Research Application requirements and instructions [PDF]


The Research

Once every two years, a group of Radford University students and a handful of high school students from the Southwest Virginia Governor's School brave bone-rattling temperatures and shivery Arctic winds at Utqiagvik, Alaska, all in the name of science. Learn more.



Utqiagvik, Alaska, is the northernmost city in the United States. Located 320 miles north of the Arctic Circle, the town sees average high temperatures in March of -6 degrees Fahrenheit. No roads connect Barrow to the rest of Alaska. Visitors must fly in or arrive by boat in the summer. Learn more.



After a voyage of more than 3,500 miles, Radford University students are in Alaska braving chilling temperatures and shivery arctic winds, with a purpose of continuing a legacy of more than a dozen years of Radford University research into Arctic sea ice. Learn more.

Student using research equipment.


Radford University has conducted research in Utqiagvik, Alaska for over 10 years with Dr. Rhett Herman. Check out the researchers in action on past trips, including information about what they studied, equipment they used and photography of everyday life in the arctic. Learn more.