Chill out & learn at Polar Day

Penn State’s Polar Center is home to world-renowned researchers who study “the unique beauty and increasingly urgent scientific and cultural value of the Arctic and Antarctic.”

The Polar Center has hosted Polar Day for several years, and this year it will be held on Tuesday, March 22, on Penn State’s University Park campus. The event is free and open to the public and features performances, lectures, and other events celebrating the natural and cultural value of the world’s polar regions. 

Doug Miller, professor of geography, will show off drones that are used to capture imagery of the North and South poles. Miller’s areas of expertise include soil, remote sensing, and geographic information systems.

At 2:35 p.m. in the Freeman Auditorium, Mark Ballora, associate professor of music, will showcase data sonification, or the transformation of data into sound. Ballora’s presentation will focus on the music of migration and phenology — the study of seasonal natural phenomena — and will include muskox and caribou migration, and cycles of plant growth.

The day will be rounded out with presentations and performances from non-Penn Staters, such as Paul Miller, aka DJ Spooky, who created an “acoustic portrait” of Antarctica; Suzi Eszterhas, an award-winning wildlife photographer; and Susan Kaplan, director of Bowdoin College’s Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum and Arctic Studies Center.

The members of the Polar Center come from a variety of disciplines across the University and include Eric Post, director of the center and an expert in the ecology of climate change in the Arctic; Richard Alley, a glacial geology and climate change expert; Sridhar Anandakrishnan, an expert in seismology and glaciology; Hester Blum, an expert in polar literature and the history of polar exploration; and Michael Mann, an atmospheric dynamics and climate expert.

Members of the news media interested in learning more about the Polar Center or talking to any of the experts there should contact Patty Craig at 814-863-4663 or or Pernille Sporon Bøving at

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