Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 

Antarctica: unfreezing the continent

Students in polar tents in the Victoria University quad? What can this mean? The onset of winter? Protection against Wellington’s famous wind? No – the polar tents and students handing out ‘ice pole’ lollies are announcing a course on Antarctica, the world’s highest, coldest, windiest and most remote continent.

The second semester course is aimed at non-scientists, and provides a general introduction to Antarctica – its history, politics, literature, art, climate, geology and biology.

Topics include Antarctica’s geological development and its spectacular ice sheets, “life beneath the ice”, the continent’s whales and penguins, and the impact of future climate change. The course also covers the history of the Scott and Shackleton expeditions, Antarctic management and key environmental issues.

“Tutorials are a mix of discussions of significant issues, like tourism and environmental degradation, and hands on stuff, like setting up a polar tent, lighting a primus, and planning helicopter loads,” says course co-ordinator Dr Mike Hannah.

“Students have to plan an expedition taking them 140 kms from Scott Base, making sure they comply with all the rules and regulations. It can be quite interesting working out who would survive and who wouldn’t!”

“We also go out in the field to look at how Antarctica affects the Wellington landscape and climate.”

Dr Hannah says the course, which is open to all students, is a useful introduction to science for non-scientists.

“You don’t need to be a science major to do the course,” he says. “Antarctica is of tremendous interest to historians, writers and painters. It’s also of relevance to people studying public policy, foreign affairs and management. The course gives people from all backgrounds an opportunity to learn more about this fascinating continent.”

Lecturers include Peter Barrett, science leader of the Cape Roberts drilling project; political scientist Nigel Roberts; public policy expert Cath Wallace and guest speakers from Antarctica New Zealand, the Met Service and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Victoria University has a long history of involvement with Antarctica, with expeditions to the continent since 1957 and a major, ongoing involvement in the international Cape Roberts project. ‘Antarctica: unfreezing the continent’ ran for the first time in 1999. Dr Hannah says he hopes this year’s course will ‘unfreeze’ Antartica for even more students.

Victoria University Wellington

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Voluntary Administration: Renaissance Brewing Up For Sale

Renaissance Brewing, the first local company to raise capital through equity crowdfunding, is up for sale after cash flow woes and product management issues led to the appointment of voluntary administrators. More>>

Elsewhere:

Approval: Northern Corridor Decision Released

The approval gives the green light to construction of the last link of Auckland’s Western Ring Route, providing an alternative route from South Auckland to the North Shore. More>>

ALSO:

Media Mega Merger: Full Steam Ahead For Appeal

New Zealand's two largest news publishers have confirmed they are committed to pursuing their appeal against the Commerce Commission's rejection of the proposal to merge their operations. More>>

Crown Accounts: $4.1 Billion Surplus

The New Zealand Government has achieved its third fiscal surplus in a row with the Crown accounts for the year ended 30 June 2017 showing an OBEGAL surplus of $4.1 billion, $2.2 billion stronger than last year, Finance Minister Steven Joyce says. More>>

ALSO:

Mycoplasma Bovis: One New Property Tests Positive

The newly identified property... was already under a Restricted Place notice under the Biosecurity Act. More>>

Accounting Scandal: Suspension Of Fuji Xerox From All-Of-Government Contract

General Manager of New Zealand Government Procurement John Ivil says, “FXNZ has been formally suspended from the Print Technology and Associated Services (PTAS) contract and terminated from the Office Supplies contract.” More>>