Book review published

A book review is published since this week in SIBIRICA  vol 70 no 2 (2017) pp221-222.

I reviewed the book from Enrico Mazzoli: “Carl Weyprecht and the International Polar Year”. It was interesting and I liked  to work on it and it reminded me on my PhD thesis when I worked through all the archive material in Vienna.

 

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Carl Weyprecht

ANTA 102

This year I was in the privileged position  to deliver 4 lectures in Antarctic History for the ANTA 102 lectures series. Because of the 4th lecture I could go into more detail in social history and history of science. The best opportunity was, however, that I could present  the political context to the expeditions which were undertaken from the 1920s on. This part of Polar History has still lots to offer in terms of research. My focus is often the not so well known expeditions during the Heroic Era (e.g.: German, Swedish, Scottish, French expeditions). The political and economic changes  after World War One and World War Two brought new challenges to  Antarctic research. In the 1950s a new issue appeared: space travel. Antarctic research and space research competed in gathering funding and the big organisations like NASA were developing. Climate Change brought the Antarctic (and Arctic) into focus again and now the Antarctic is often used as a place for field training and to test material for outer space events.

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Showing a new direction 🙂

Hillmorton High School

Last Tuesday, 2 May, I was invited by Hannah Ewingh (the science teacher) to give a lecture about “Adaptation to extreme environments”. The students (16-17 years old) have to work on a project with the same title. I discussed with them the term “adaptation” and what an extreme environment is. The items (jackets, boots, etc.) I had with me again were a great help to show them how we adapt today to the Antarctic conditions when we are down in the ice. I has slides prepared what helps to keep the flow in the presentation but I integrated the students as well. 17 years working as teacher is then in the blood – so it was really nice to work as teacher again – at least for two hours. I don’t miss the administration involved in the school machinery but I like the work with the young people. But it is always easier to come from outside than being their teacher – it is easier to do it that way as I did last Tuesday.

CaptureHilmorton

 

Great birthdays

On 12 April the Antarctic Society Canterbury branch, the Canterbury Museum and the Lyttelton Museum Society celebrated two important birthdays. Baden Norris, the founder of the Lyttelton Museum, gets 90 years old on Sunday, 16 April. He is a “walking encyclopedia” in Antarctic history matters. Baden and his teams saved the historic huts in the Antarctic in the 1960s and he was long time curator of the Antarctic collection at the Canterbury Museum – what he is still doing on a volunteer basis.

The other birthday-boy is Alex McFerran. At the very day as Baden he will celebrate his 95th birthday. He overwintered at Scott Base in 1970 – 1971 as electrician and dog handler. At this time his colleagues and he were digging out the Hillary tractor and repaired it and brought the vehicle to Scott Base. The tractor is now on display at the Canterbury Museum. in 1974 – 1975 he overwintered at Campbell Island and was involved in erecting and maintaining the meteorological station there.  For his achievements in the Antarctic and his long time membership in the Antarctic Society, Canterbury branch, he was awarded with the life-membership.

It is always amazing meeting these people and hear their stories about the days in the Antarctic. Both men’s experiences in the Antarctic are recorded via the NZAS Oral History project. A wonderful source for current and future historians.

 

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Alex McFerran receives his life membership certificate

 

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Alex McFerran and Baden Norris at their birthday event