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SPRI Public Lectures - Lent term 2005

SPRI Public Lectures - Lent term 2005

The lectures are in the Scott Polar Research Institute, Lensfield Road, Cambridge (telephone 01223 336540). They are open to all who are interested. Seats may be reserved, on request, for members of the Friends of the Institute. The Institute opens half an hour before lectures begin. Please arrive in time because most lectures involve use of projectors, which require the theatre lights to be dimmed. For safety reasons (as well as for the benefit of the lecturer and audience) anyone arriving after the lecture has begun may not be admitted. The Friends of the Institute usually serve light refreshments after the Saturday night lectures.

The North Pole: logistics, air operations, 'Borneo' ice station, and ski adventures

Viktor Boyarskiy

Saturday 29 January 2005 at 20:00 (doors open at 19:30)

The Curator of the Arctic and Antarctic Museum in St Peterburg has had extensive experience in both Polar Regions for many decades; indeed he is one of Russia's noted Polyarniks. For almost a decade he has been organizing adventure and similar private expeditions to the North Pole. Many of these are based on a summer drift station 'Borneo' from where fixed wing aircraft and helicopters are deployed. Victor will give an account of these operations and adventurers reaching the North Pole with modern methods

The voyage of Français, Jean-Etienne Baptiste Charcot, (1903-05)

Tony Billinghurst

Saturday 12 February 2005 at 20:00 (doors open at 19:30)

This lecture corresponds with the launch of a new book, the first English version of the French account of Charcot's first Antarctic expedition (translated by the speaker). Originally Charcot was prepared to sail to Greenland but responded to the news of the disappearance of Antarctic and Otto Nordenskjöld's Swedish Antarctic expedition. Français reached Buenos Aires, December 1903, in time for Charcot to receive the good news that expedition had been rescued. Regardless, and with a vessel fully equipped for an Antarctic expedition, he continued and wintered at Booth Island. The complement of 20 established huts ashore, made extensive surveys of the western coast of parts of the Antarctic Peninsula, and undertook a comprehensive scientific programme. Surveys and exploration were also made from the vessel and the results encouraged Charcot to return in 1908 aboard Pourquoi Pas? (an English account of which has been published).

Edward Whymper and the Arctic

Ian Smith

Saturday 26 February 2005 at 20:00 (doors open at 19:30)

Edward Whymper (1840-1911) was by profession a wood-engraver who achieved fame as a mountaineer but he always wanted to be an Arctic explorer. He organized his own expedition to north-west Greenland in 1867 travelling with a naturalist, Robert Brown. The attempted, unsuccessfully, to explore the inland icesheet, and collected a valuable collection of Miocene fossil plants. Whymper made a second visit alone to the same area of Disco Bay in 1872 during which he made, what he thought, was the highest ascent north of the Arctic Circle. Insufficient finance prevented subsequent Arctic expeditions. Whymper travelled extensively in many parts of the world and specialised in mountaineering (notably the Matterhorn). The majority of his papers (and his wood engraving tools) are deposited in the archives of the Scott Polar Research Institute.

North-East Greenland, a Brief History

Bob Burton

Saturday 12 March 2005 at 20:00 (doors open at 19:30)

The speaker, who knows this distinctive region well from many expeditions, will review the history from the earliest accounts to current circumstances. Reports of the last of the Polar Eskimo, the most northern indigenes of the Earth begin the account. Explorations and research by William Scoresby and Edward Sabine are from the whaling period of the region. More detailed investigation by Robert Peary and Ludvig Mylius Erichson began around 1900 while Norwegian hunters and trappers were active in the region. The interesting case of Norway vs Denmark, where sovereignty was contested before the International Court of Justice, is an important event in the history of the region. More recent mapping, notably by the Joint Services Expedition (1977) and the Sirius Patrol bring the history to the modern period.

An Evening with Peter Hillary

Peter Hillary

Wednesday 20 April 2005 at 19:30 (doors open at 19:00)

The speaker, son of Sir Edmund Hillary, has climbed Mt Everest twice, survived K2, skied along a new traverse to the South Pole, climbed Vinson Massif the highest peak in Antarctica (4897 m), and landed at the North Pole. The event is described as 'a collection of ripping yarns from a member of one of the world's most famous families of high adventure'. Following the lecture there will be a reception in the Institute to allow the opportunity of meeting the speaker. It is a ticketed event the proceeds of which will be donated to the William Mills Library Acquisition Fund of the Institute. Tickets (including the reception) are £ 25 each and should be purchased in advance from the The Friends Secretary addressed at the Institute.