The End of the Heroic Era – Conference

A conference, organised by the NZ Antarctic Society and the Royal NZ Navy, was held in Auckland. Friday, 24 March 2017, was the cocktail party at the Naval Museum in Devonport where the participants came together in a relaxed atmosphere.

IMG_9871The picture shows me, Philippa Ross and Myra Walton in the Naval Museum.

On Saturday, 25 March, were the presentations of different speakers. I have been invited to this conference to present the international perspective of the Heroic Era. My focus was on the German, Swedish, Japanese and French expeditions which took place at this time. I also provided a context of why these expeditions undertook science in the Antarctic and how it was linked to the economic and political circumstances at the time. Some of these links are still in place and are regulated by the Antarctic Treaty System.  It turned out during the conference that the Heroic Era is mainly a British Edwardian concept. This time of Antarctic explorations is stated usually from 1897 – 1917; however, sometimes it is also pointed out that the end was at 1922 when Ernest Shackleton died at Grytviken on a heart attack. This is a matter of debate but much more logical to end it in 1917.

A service was held on Sunday at the chapel of St Christopher. After the service a guided tour took place around the Naval Base.

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“Nathanial Palmer” in the dry dock for repair and participants of the conference at the tour.

After lunch the presentations continued until 4 pm in the afternoon. The conference was concluded with drinks and lots of lively discussions until 5:30pm.

The conference was very well prepared by Brett Fotheringham, CDR, Roger McGarry and Mike Wing from the Auckland Branch of the NZAS. Of course many people helped in the background for the the conference run smoothly.

More photos can be found on the NZAS Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/150773471684015/?ref=bookmarks

Marsden Fast Start Fund

To get a Marsden Fund is a lifetime opportunity for a researcher here in New Zealand. This year I was fortunate to get invited to submit a full proposal. After the fifth attempt, I made it into the second round! It was a lot of work before the submission. Many people supported me by discussing my ideas and helped me to find a way through it that in the end a proposal could be submitted. Now I have to wait for the comments of reviewers, can submit a response to it and at the end of October I will know then if I will have the chance to continue with my research on historic weather data and how early Antarctic explorer reacted to the extreme weather, and how their interactions, well-being, decision making, etc.  were influenced by the low temperature and strong winds.

Preliminary results, which I worked on supported with a COMNAP research fellowship in 2012/2013, are published in the latest issue of the The Polar Journal. This is the basis for the Marsden Fast Start Fund proposal.

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The picture shows scientists from the Drygalski Expedition (1901-1903) taking ice temperature.

New article

A new article is out: “‘Blizzard blowing again and considerable discomfort on board as usual.’ Personal accounts of weather as scientific data, and the weather’s influence on expedition members during the Heroic Age”

It is not allowed that I put the link on that page – so when someone wants to read the article, please go to  “The Polar Journal” and search the latest issue (June 2015). from here you can download then the text as pdf. Sorry for that hassle, but the access to my article on Felix Koenig has been blocked and the link in my post is not working.

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Research stay in Europe

Some busy  weeks are laying ahead. I will be in Europe to work in the Archives in Austria and England again.

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My workspace at SPRI in 2013

I give a talk on my research at the Austrian Society of History of Science (Oesterreichische Gesellschaft fuer Wissenschaftsgeschichte) at 16th April at 6pm (Vienna University Archive, Postgasse 9, 1010 Wien). I have been invited for a talk after I gave a talk in June last year at the Institute for Austrian History (Institut fuer Oesterreichkunde, IOEK).

The next step: I will spend some time in Cambridge again in the Archives at the Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI) to do research on Nimrod Expedition 1907 – 1909 especially on the diaries and meteorological logs of the Ross Sea Party.  This is a part of my COMNAP Research Fellowship project which started in 2012/13. In the meantime I gave 10 talks on the development on that project, had 3 poster presentations and 6 publications in journals and webpages.

In May I attend a workshop in Colorado: SCAR History Expert Group and the SCAR Social Science Action Group. I will give an oral presentation on the development of an digital platform where information can be exchanged on the whereabouts of diaries and documents of Polar expeditions. The idea has been discussed at the SCAR Open Science Conference last year. (see report) The platform is in the early state of its development, but at least it is a start.

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Me, teaching Antarctic History in the “Discovery Hut” at Hut Point, Antarctic December 2014.