UAFNews-L R/V Sikuliaq powers Arctic Ocean exploration in new museum exhibit

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From: University of Alaska Fairbanks <uaf-distribution>
Date: May 9, 2014 at 15:50:35 AKDT
To: “UAFnews-l” <UAFnews-l>
Subject: [UAFNews-L] R/V Sikuliaq powers Arctic Ocean exploration in new museum exhibit
Reply-To: newsroom

R/V Sikuliaq powers Arctic Ocean exploration in new museum exhibit

CONTACT: Theresa Bakker, 907-474-6941, tabakker

An exhibit opening May 17 at the University of Alaska Museum of the North highlights the efforts of scientists to understand what is happening in the world’s oceans. “Arctic Odyssey: Voyages of the R/V Sikuliaq” explores the ship and the science while introducing people from diverse professions who make the research possible.

“We are taking advantage of the event to highlight what is now possible,” López said. “The Sikuliaq serves as an entry point to the world of oceanography, where scientists are trying to understand how the oceans work and how they affect life across the planet. A key part of this effort is collecting observations and measurements. The Sikuliaq lets us do that.”

The ship is an example of a coordinated effort of government, the university and the public to provide a state-of-the-art research vessel to answer our most pressing oceanographic questions. SFOS Dean Michael Castellini said an arctic university needs to have access to the waters in this part of the globe.

“The R/V Sikuliaq is a unique ice-capable research vessel that we have been working on for a very long time,” he said. “As it begins science operations in 2014, we are excited to bring its story, the excitement of marine scientific discovery and awareness of arctic issues together with this year-long exhibit. I am looking forward to bringing visitors and dignitaries to the museum throughout the coming year to talk about science, the ship and the North.”

Showcasing the marine sciences to the public using an exhibit about the newest global-class research vessel is a tremendous opportunity, Castellini said.

The Sikuliaq is the first research vessel built for the National Science Foundation in more than three decades. It will be the only ship in the national academic fleet rated for year-round operations in first-year ice. The name of the ship is an Inupiaq word that means “young sea ice.” It was chosen to reflect the university’s focus on arctic research and its Alaska heritage.

The museum exhibit features interactive games that illustrate the tasks that oceanographers accomplish. A water column shows the range of depths at which tools must operate in the ocean. A sonar mapping activity lets visitors assemble a seafloor terrain and use an ultrasonic sensor to virtually recreate the topography.

Visitors will be able to play in the science control room, examine scientific specimens collected in the Arctic, and explore a six-foot model of the ship. “Arctic Odyssey: Voyages of the R/V Sikuliaq” will be on display in the museum’s Special Exhibits Gallery until April 2015. The exhibit was created by the University of Alaska Museum of the North in partnership with the UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences.

ADDITIONAL CONTACTS: Andrés López, guest curator, at 907-474-7828 or jalopez; Sharice Walker, SFOS public information officer, at 907-474-7208 or skwalker.


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