Ron Sletten is drawn to the high latitudes. Before he became a researcher, he worked in Prudhoe Bay as a construction manager on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Now, as a geochemist, he continues to focus on elements of northern ecosystems—especially permafrost. With permafrost, he looks at the ways the chemical and physical processes of soils are influenced by biological processes. In addition to his work in Alaska, he has done extensive research at other sites in the far north—at Svalbard, for instance, and Devon Island, and also in Greenland. Farther south, he has worked in the Dry Valleys of Antarctica, which are the largest snow-free area on the continent. Such areas are vital to our understanding of past ice sheet dynamics and climate changes. By understanding this past record, we can predict the future repercussions of our rapidly changing climate.