Columbia University

Focus on the ecosystems of the planet earth and integrative science.

Was run by Columbia Univeristy of New York in Tuscon, Arizona.

Built to study earthsciences and ecological relations from a planetary basis, the focus on the earth is of central importance to effective education for the next century.

Evolved from a project, in 1991, to test self sufficiency, Biosphere2 is today a place for scientists, students and engineers to learn how the biological diversity of the planet's ecosystems sustain life. When it started, there were originally 8 experimental scientists living for two years in this three acre self contained model of the earth. Isolated from the atmosphere these bioneers tried to self subsist without external sources of energy, water, or food. This 8 story, closed, air-tight system or "testube," was unable to noursh the team as the oxygen pressure dropped precipitously and the food was insufficient to provide the expected diet. The unintended consequences of the vegetarian diet that these folks had -- of necessity -- to consume proved to be healthier than our normal diets of high cholesterol, fat-laden fried foods. A $ 200 million structure modeled on a green house.

Today it is a planetary and ecosystem research facility for students and faculty.