Exploring the science of sea ice

A sheet of floating Arctic or Antarctic ice probably isn’t the setting in which you’d expect to find a mathematician. But that’s exactly where distinguished professor Ken Golden trains students and carries out experiments, as explained in a video introduction to Golden’s Frontiers of Science lecture, hosted by the College of Science and held on Feb. 18.

“It’s one thing to sort of sit in your office and develop theorems and theories and models about as complex a system as sea ice,” Golden says. “It exhibits all kinds of fascinating phenomena and behavior that you wouldn’t necessarily expect or think is important until you actually get down there and see it in action.”

Watch the full video introduction, produced by University Marketing & Communications, below or find the video here. Golden talks about his experiences in the Arctic and Antarctica and about what he and his students have learned from bringing the principles of mathematics into some of Earth’s most remote and most vulnerable environments.

Golden studies how sea ice forms and melts using mathematical models. He’s logged 18 trips to the Arctic and Antarctic, and is a Fellow of the Explorers Club. He is also a Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, and an Inaugural Fellow of the American Mathematical Society.

The Frontiers of Science lecture series was established in 1967 by University of Utah alumnus and Physics Professor Peter Gibbs. Today, Frontiers of Science is the longest continuously running lecture series at the University of Utah. The 2020-2021 Frontiers of Science lectures, featuring University of Utah faculty, are online only.

In Golden’s lecture, he discusses his research, his Arctic and Antarctic adventures and how mathematics is currently playing an important role in addressing these fundamental issues and will likely play an even greater role in the future.

Watch Golden’s full Frontiers of Science lecture here.

Read more about Golden’s recent research