Soon-to-be UND grad and Ted Bibby rides bike year round as a way to keep in shape, brighten mood

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Soon-to-be UND grad and Ted Bibby rides bike year round as a way to keep in shape, brighten mood

This guy took the concept of "study abroad" to a whole new level. Actually, two levels: the Himalayas, for starters, and Antarctica for an encore.

Theodore "Ted" Bibby, a native of Jacksonville, Fla., graduates from the University of North Dakota this week with a Ph.D. in geology and geological engineering, with proven expertise in the use of cosmogenic isotopes to date rock and ice samples hundreds of thousands of years old.

And how does he take "time out" from his frigid-zone scientific adventures? He bicycles ? all year round ? something that might not be out of the ordinary in balmy Jacksonville, but, during a North Dakota winter, it's a bit of a challenge.

Bibby, whose advisor is geomorphologist Jaakko Putkonen, says it's been quite a ride here at UND, where he constructed, as part of his Ph.D. program, a cosmogenic isotope laboratory in the Harold Hamm School of Geology & Geological Engineering. It's the only such lab in the region.

Bibby has accompanied Putkonen on several teaching and research trips into the Himalayas during the course of his Ph.D. studies here at UND.

The rock-probing lab that Bibby built detects specific isotopes, or variant forms of certain atoms that "live" in rock samples, such as those that Putkonen and Bibby and their team of students brought back from Antarctica last year. It's all part of an interest that Bibby developed in Earth science classes in high school. He majored in geology for his undergraduate degree.

"We prepare the isotopes samples, and send them to a much bigger lab to be dated ? that tells us how old the rocks and the formations that we obtained them from are," said Bibby. This technology also is useful for dating glaciers, which may tell us more about how fast they move.

That's pretty slow compared to Bibby's other passion, cycling.

"I ride my bicycle all year around," said Bibby, who plans to move on to a post-doctoral research fellowship in his field. "There's a physical benefit, absolutely, but in addition, my mood is always better when I'm riding."

Juan Pedraza University & Public Affairs writer

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