What We Do at the Earth Institute

In this series of videos, produced for the Earth Institute at Columbia University in 2017, scientists and others at the institute talk about what they do, why they do it, and what inspired them to go into their field.

Radley Horton:


Einat Lev:


Park Willliams:


Kirsty Tinto:


Colin Kelley:


Pratigya Polissar:


Michelle Ho:


Leymah Gbowee:


Richard Seager:


Adam Sobel:


Christine McCarthy:


Jeffrey Shaman:


Hannah Nissan:



Climate Change and the California Water Supply


Geologists exploring glacial remnants in the Sierras of central California try to date the recession of ice from the last ice age. Tracing this climate timeline might help us assess how global warming will affect water supply in the U.S. West.

‘The Largest Mass Poisoning in History’


As many as one in five deaths in Bangladesh may be tied to naturally occurring arsenic in the drinking water; it is the epicenter of a worldwide problem that is affecting tens of millions of people. For two decades, health specialists and earth scientists from Columbia University have been trying to understand the problem, and how to solve it.


Lessons from Alaska on Climate Change

(Read the full story here.)


The Columbia Geology Tour

When did a year last 415 days, a day just 21 hours, and why? Clues to a different world in the Devonian inside Columbia University’s Low Library, in the Burden Room. First in a series for The Earth Institute (you can watch the full series here).


The rest of the Geology Tour:

Building blocks from the Mississippian Sea:

At the corner of Mudd Hall, the secret of blue quartz:

Seeing red: the great oxygenation event

Orogenous zones: how rock flows:

Watch your step: the alpha predator of the Ordovician:

Alma Mater’s other secret: a way forward on climate:

Mapping Climate Change in the U.S. West

Researcher Guleed Ali explores clues to past climate — and the future prospects for drought — at California’s Mono Lake.


Farming the Forest, Adapting to Climate in the Amazon

Along a quiet riverbank in the Amazon delta, Rosario Costa Cabral works her farm in the forest, and experiments with ways to adapt to climate change.



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