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SPRI Public Lectures - Michaelmas term 2005

SPRI Public Lectures - Michaelmas 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.

As well as the public lecture series the Friends of the Institute will present a special performance by Aidan Dooley of Tom Crean Antarctic Explorer on 1 October 2005 at 19:30. This one-man representation of Tom Crean's participation in expeditions led by Scott and Shackleton, has received very favourable reviews at presentations in Britain and Ireland. Tickets are £17·50, which include refreshments during the interval.


Nobu Shirase's Antarctic Expedition, 1910-12

Hilary Shibata

Saturday 15 October 2005 at 20:00 (doors open 19:30)

This lecture corresponds with the launch of a new book, the English version of the first Japanese Antarctic expedition (translation coordinated by the speaker). Lieutenant Nobu Shirase reached Antarctica during the 1910-11 and the 1911-12 summers aboard Kainan-maru with a complement of 27. Shirase and Roald Amundsen's expeditions met in the Bay of Whales in January 1912, to mutual astonishment. Still photographs and ciné film were taken which will be shown during the lecture. Previously only two brief accounts of the Expedition were available in English. The book, originally published in Tokyo in 1913, is another in the series of translations of voyages of the Heroic Era of Antarctic exploration.


Herbert Ponting, Antarctic Camera Artist

Bob Headland

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

Herbert Ponting was a still and ciné photographer for the first year of Captain Scott's Terra Nova expedition (1910-13). Ponting preferred the term 'camera artist'. Early in 2005 his glass negatives from the expedition were acquired by the Scott Polar Research Institute with most of the purchase price being provided by the National Heritage Lottery Fund. The lecture will describe Ponting's photographic techniques as applied in the Antarctic, and demonstrate the results achieved. Lucy Martin, who manages the picture collection, will be present to answer questions on this part of the Institute's activities. At the conclusion of the lecture a Special Exhibition of Ponting's photographs will be opened in the Institute's museum.


Antarctic Sites Outside the Antarctic: Memorials, Statues, Houses, Graves and the Occasional Pub

Robert Stephenson

Saturday 12 November 2005 at 17:00 (doors open at 16:30)

The lecturer has spent much time searching for, assiduously investigating, and recording the vast, and diverse, amount of memorials and other sites associated with those who have worked in the south polar regions. This has taken him to all continents and occupied many years of careful investigation (including a large amount of 'detective work'). Some of the sites, of almost 1000 he has listed, are well known, while others may be obscure, bizarre, or whimsical. Some are worth seeing and many worth going to see (he feels Tom Crean's pub, The South Pole Inn, is worth repeated visits), and many intriguing mysteries remain to be solved.

The Annual General Meeting of the Friends of the Scott Polar Research Institute will follow the lecture, with a reception for members (applications to join will be accepted until the meeting begins).


The Forbidden Plateau, British Army Expedition, 2004

Richard Pattison

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

The lecturer led a British Army expedition across the long narrow snow-covered plateau extending from Charlotte Bay to Flanders Bay, about 64·5ºS on the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula during the 2004-05 austral summer. The region was identified by the Falkland Islands Aerial Survey Expedition of 1956-57 but has had few subsequent visits (hence the distinctive name). Richard Pattison has previously spoken at the Institute when he described the British Army mountaineering and surveying expedition to the Antarctic Peninsula in 2003.


Car parking in the Institute's grounds is sometimes inadequate for the number of cars used by those attending lectures. Visitors are requested not to park other than in the designated spaces. The entrances and escapes, and access for the fire brigade, must not be obstructed. There is a multi-storey car park about 400 m west of the Institute and local street parking is usually easy on Saturday evenings.

The next Public Lectures will be on 11 and 25 February, 11 and 25 March, and 29 April 2006.