Tag Archives: International Geophysical Year

Science in Antarctica

10 Jan

I am giving a number of talks on Antarctica this year; obviously a most important year in relation to the commemoration of the deaths of the British Polar Party in 1912.  People remain fascinated by the achievements of the early twentieth century explorers.

But history is only a part of Antarctica; scientific advances on the continent have focussed the world’s attention on it as a platform for pivotal new information about the universe.

Since the International Geophysical Year of 1957-58 (when scientists from many nations cooperated for the first time on scientific projects) and the Antarctic Treaty of 1961 (which set aside territorial claims and ensured the freedom of scientific projects), a vast amount of information has been gathered: weather balloons floating above the continent raised the first concerns about global warning, the South Pole telescope will survey thousands of galaxies. ‘Ice Cube’s a powerful telescope that searches for dark matter and is collecting information on neutrinos, Ice Cores (which retrieve a core of ice from deep below the Antarctic surface), give us information about the geological conditions existing hundreds of thousands of years ago. Antarctic lakes have been found deep below the ice with living creatures in them.

Truly a place of important ongoing possibilities, potential and fascination.