Antarctic Science is proved as popular as ever with our 2017 Oates Antarctic Lectures – generously supported by UKAHT – proved that the draw of Antarctica is still as great as ever. More than 300 people attended talks on different aspects of Antarctica.
Klaus Dodds, Professor of Geopolitics at Royal Holloway College, University of London at the Gilbert White & Oates Museum Field Studies Centre, Selborne, Hampshire.
Dr Phil Trathan, who leads BAS’ group of marine predator scientists, told us that – contrary to expectations – Emperor penguin numbers are much more robust than previously thought. Modern methods of counting – measuring penguin ‘poo’ from space – suggests there are 250,000 pairs of Emperors. Professor Klaus Dodd took us on a lively canter through the history of Antarctica, concentrating on the conflict between those who see Antarctica as a source of raw materials and those who see it as one of the last great homes of real scientific discovery.
Our final lecturer, Professor David Vaughan, Director of Science at BAS, gave us a real insight into modern Antarctic science – revealing that ice should be seen as “a sticky liquid” , and told us about the dramas of ice cracks under BAS Halley Base, leading to its first winter closure in 50 years.
-Philip Geddes is a Trustee of Gilbert White’s House & The Oates Museum.