Geology of the National Parks

Meet Dr. Anandakrishnan (Dr. A)

Dr. A on a glacier in Iceland.

Welcome to GEOSC 10! Throughout these online course materials, you will see "me" and "I" used. So who am I? My name is Sridhar Anandakrishnan and I will be your instructor for GEOSC 10. I am a geophysicist who works on glaciers and ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland to try and figure out what the future holds for these huge masses of ice. I divide my time between teaching (this class and other classes for undergraduate and graduate students in geosciences) and research into glaciers. I did my studies at Columbia University in NY, followed by a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. I have been at Penn State since 1992. Geophysics is the use of the principles of physics (things like electrical waves or sound waves) to better understand the Earth. In particular, geophysics lets us determine properties deep inside the Earth that we can’t directly measure. When not in work mode, my attention goes to the family, cats, bicycles, and gardening. Here is a brief, 1-minute video biography.

Click for a transcript.

Hi. My name's Sridhar Anandakrishnan. I'm an Associate Professor of Geosciences at Penn State University. I'm going to give you a short bio, a little bit of background about myself. I first went to Antarctica gosh, almost 30 years ago, 1985 was the first time I went down. I went down just as a worker on a project with some other folks that were studying these glaciers. I just went there to look around and to help out on the project. I was captivated by really the stark and uncompromising beauty of the continent, and I decided I want to study this.

Over the years, I discovered that not only was it personally fulfilling because I was working in a beautiful place, but it was also important for the rest of the planet. What happens in Antarctica doesn't just stay in Antarctica. It actually comes out and affects the rest of us here. And I've enjoyed very much being a part of that search. 

While I am your instructor this semester, it was a team of individuals who developed and authored this online version of GEOSC 10. First and foremost, this course was prepared by me and Dr. Richard Alley; we are both professors in the Department of Geosciences at Penn State. You will literally see and hear both of us throughout the course via audio and video clips.

Course Authors

Sridhar Anandakrishnan
Sridhar Anandakrishnan

Sridhar Anandakrishnan is a geophysicist and a Columbia University and Wisconsin (Go Bucky!) graduate, who has been at Penn State off and on since 1992. Dr. "A" splits his time between teaching (this intro class, geophysics classes, and some math and computer related classes for geoscientists), service (committees, panels, talks to the public), and research (what's under the glaciers and will they melt?). He has spent a good chunk of his time in Antarctica doing research on and about the glaciers there. Go to the US Antarctic Program's newsletter for a flavor of life and work in Antarctica. When not in work mode, Dr. A's attention goes to the family, cats, bicycles, and gardening.

Richard Alley
Richard Alley

Richard Alley is a geologist, and an Ohio State and Wisconsin graduate, who has been at Penn State long enough that the fruit trees he planted in his side yard are getting big. He splits his time between teaching (introductory classes, the study of past climates for undergraduate majors, and mathematical modeling of the earth for graduate students), service (he's had breakfast with a U.S. Vice President, testified to various Congressional committees, was the color commentator for an educational trip to Greenland by 10% of the US Senate, and contributed to the Nobel Peace Prize work of the United Nations IPCC, as well as chatting with lots of elementary-school classes and scout troops), and research (will the ice sheets fall into the ocean and flood the coasts?). When not in work mode, his attention goes to wife Cindy (who is the Geovisionary of the Rock Videos you'll see soon), their two daughters (Janet, who graduated from Penn State in elementary education, and Karen at Colgate, also featured on the Rock Videos), the fruit trees, a bicycle, and some soccer cleats.

An instructional design team supported the development work for GEOSC 10 as well, including Cindy Alley, Eric Spielvogel, Jennifer Babb, and Ann Taylor.

Cindy Alley met Richard when they were both geology majors at Ohio State. Since she enjoys computer graphics and design layout, and she can speak "geology," she has helped with course design, editing photos (many of the parks photos in this class come from their honeymoon, over 20 years ago!) and designing figures. In GEOSC 10, she steps in to help wherever the others need a hand – photo editing, testing, making suggestions, whatever. When not playing with GEOSC 10, Cindy is a quilter, crafter, and chauffeur for their two children.

Jennifer Babb, Ann Taylor and Eric Spielvogel work for the Dutton e-Education Institute in the College of Earth and Minerals Sciences, supporting the development of courses like GEOSC 10! You may see them "pop in" from time to time, as they continue to assist with the course as we work out the bugs over time.

Many other people worked hard to make your "visit" to the national parks a memorable one. Click here to meet some of them.