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Foreword by Walter Cronkite  
Introduction - The National Science Foundation at 50: Where Discoveries Begin, by Rita Colwell  
Internet: Changing the Way we Communicate  
Advanced Materials: The Stuff Dreams are Made of  
Education: Lessons about Learning  
Manufacturing: The Forms of Things Unknown  
Arabidopsis: Map-makers of the Plant Kingdom  
Decision Sciences: How the Game is Played  
Visualization: A Way to See the Unseen  
Environment: Taking the Long View  
Astronomy: Exploring the Expanding Universe  
Science on the Edge: Arctic and Antarctic Discoveries
Disaster & Hazard Mitigation  
About the Photographs  
About the NSF  
Chapter Index  
Science on the Edge: Arctic and Antarctic Research

Knowledge of the Whole

Knowledge of life in extreme environments helps us to understand not only how life may have begun on Earth, but also what we may find beyond our own planet. Records from ice and sediment cores reveal past climate patterns, helping scientists to anticipate future scenarios and maybe allowing policymakers to make more informed decisions. Following ethical principles in partnership with Arctic communities brings researchers to a deeper understanding of their own scientific methods while enabling them to listen to local knowledge and oral traditions.

What will happen to the sea ice in the Arctic and the massive glaciers in the Antarctic? How will ecosystems adapt to the rapid changes observed over the last few years? Data captured at the poles show that the Earth is a total system where cause and effect know no north or south. The Arctic and Antarctic both register the effects of, and have their own influence on, global circulation patterns in the ocean and atmosphere.

NSF has enabled science to reach the most remote and seemingly forbidding regions on Earth, only to discover that these regions may hold the key to a global understanding. As scientists make discoveries at the ice's edge, they join earlier generations of hunters, explorers, and navigators in a time-honored quest for knowledge of the extreme, leading to knowledge of the whole.

PDF Version
A Surprising Abundance of Life
Human Migration and Local Knowledge
The Importance of Sea Ice
Studying Extremes Above and Below
Ozone Hole over Antarctica
Knowledge of the Whole
Ice Cores Hold Earth's Climate
Like Doing Research on the Moon
Why the Ozone Hole?
To Learn More...

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