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Roman Dial  

Biologist; Professor of Biology and Mathematics at Alaska Pacific University

After his first winter as a college freshman in Alaska, he nearly left the state, never to return. The dark and the distance from home isolated him. The apparent lack of culture perhaps simply the over-dominance of the human by the natural was disorienting for him. But after a summer climbing mountains, working canneries, and hitching the empty highways, he realized he had to stay. That was over 25 years ago.

Through the late 70s, 80s and most of the 90s, Roman Dial pursued a near obsession with Alaskan wilderness, while simultaneously nurturing an academic intrigue with ecology. He scaled rock and ice, skied glaciers, paddled rivers. He also studied for four degrees, two in mathematics (B.S., M.S.) and two in biology (B.S., Ph.D). He learned to packraft, hellbike, and glacier skate. Magazines and newspapers ran his hyperbole and exploits; peer-reviewed journals published his theory and data. For him the wild side feeds emotion and spirit; the analytic side feeds intellect and family.

Now, a professor at Alaska Pacific University, Roman Dial feels blessed with an eclectic convergence. "I indulge in my passions at will. I can take a class to the tropics or the arctic, where we can lie on our bellies and watch musk ox or dangle from ropes and watch monkeys. We can even move from tree to tree 'canopy trek' collecting observations en route. We can paddle autumn rivers into Canada. Or read Sir Robert May on chaos, Benoit Mandelbrot on fractals and Per Bak on complexity. We can do wilderness and travel. We can do math and statistics. We can do nature and science. And we can find surprise and delight and challenge in it all."

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