DCS: Local Heritage Event:
A Day with the North and South Poles
Saturday 20th November 2010 Return to Alumni Events
Alumni have always been quite lucky with the weather for the outdoor D.C.S. events but normally the weather has little effect on those tha are indoors, however for this event, the pre-talk conversation over hot drinks and biscuits was whether it would snow and make the roads dangerous before the end of our day. Ultimately those living south of Cambridge just got back in time whilst those to the north had plenty of leeway. However the bitterly cold weather was quickly banished by the hot drinks and warmth of the meeting room in 1 Newnham Terrace, then despite the subject of frozen wastes, completely forgotten as we were educated by our speaker. Robert Culshaw is the Deputy Director of the British Antarctic Survey and we were lucky to have him as the arranged speaker was called away to the Antarctic within the last few days prior to the talk.
Robert started by stating that he was not a scientist and that he would not be able to answer any deep scientific questions and then proceeded to open our eyes to the history including the political aspects right through to the present day, the Antartic Treaty with it's unique terms agreed by so many of the world's nations, the comparison between Artic and Antartic both in terms of it's geography and political status and the bases which the British Antartic Survey maintain. He continued with the research projects which were operational and he explained the results and/or the hopes of the scientific teams involved, he gave us glimpses of the wildlife and it's distribution or perhaps more accurately it's limitations. He talked at length on how people were moved to the interior and their training to help them survive and the logistics of being and staying there.
Finally we were shown the new buildings designed to last much longer on the glaciers. These relatively huge buildings were on skis so they could be moved to counter the seaward flow of the glacier and on legs which could be extended or retracted to counter the way everything were slowly buried there. It really was fascinating and if the number of favourable comments had any weight, the thirty-plus alumni found it hugely enjoyable and just as eye-opening as myself.
Robert took questions during his talk and they continued for some time, before we moved for the Darwin College meal, which is a good point to give thanks must go to Paul, our butler, and his team who laid out tables out beautifully and allowed us a little more time.
(Click on the pictures for larger versions) Return to Alumni Events