Born and brought up in Moscow, Russia, Matvey Debolskiy is working towards his PhD at the Geophysical Institute here at UAF since Spring 2014.
Excelling in the Physics and Math Olympiads, Mat graduated from a distinctive high school consisting of students having an aptitude towards the sciences. He says “Maths was a lot more fun for me than Physics because I didn’t have to keep in mind all the assumptions while I solved Maths!”
On his parents’ insistence, he went to the Moscow University to study Geography.
He says “I didn’t mind studying Geography and when the time came to choose the subject of my research focus and laboratory work, I flipped a coin. And that is how I got into glaciers and permafrost!” Meteorology would have been on the flip side, Mat pointed out.
During his research in Russia, Mat preferred using techniques that involve applied Math or Physics as opposed to the Landschaft (Landscape) Paradigm method popular in Russia which involved data collection exercises that he says were a little primitive. That being said, he enjoyed the numerous field visit opportunities that were part of his research and he spent most of his summers in the Caucasus range between The Caspian and Black seas, mapping and studying glaciers.He was a part time employee at the Melnikov Permafrost Institute for the last three years of his undergraduate degree.
Mat (L) with his brother in Moscow
What are you doing now?
"Trying to get my PhD!"
Mat is working on modeling of watersheds with permafrost and glaciers. He is currently post- processing Ground Penetrating Radar data for his PhD thesis and thinks he’ll get his doctorate in about two more years.
He chose UAF to do research and get a PhD because of UAF's renowned Geophysical Institute. He says that the team of professors and associates here is very talented and accomplished that creates a great environment for prospective researchers.
Matvey at work in his office
How were your first Summer and Winter experiences?
Mat spent two winters in Igarka, Siberia before he arrived in Alaska so he had no issues getting acclimatized to the unusual darkness and cold. He spent his summers around the Alaska Range making hydrological and meteorological observations, driving two times a week around Delta junction at times.
Mat during field visits around Alaska
What do you miss about home?
“My cat, Kotjik.
The small coffee shops in Moscow, Doner and the “big city” life"
Doner is a popular street food in Moscow
What are your future plans?
Mat would like to continue working in academia, possibly work as a post doctorate fellow. He says, "I would love to work in Europe so I would be close to Moscow and my family".
The recently married Mat has his research prioritized but says it sometimes gets difficult to stay away from family.
Describe UAF in one word