Scott’s Antarctic legacy remembered


THE 100th anniversary of Captain Scott’s death will be marked by a lecture at the University of Dundee celebrating the scientific legacy of his expeditions to the Antarctic

The tragic outcome of the ‘Race for the Pole’ has made it one of the most famous stories in the history of exploration.

Often overlooked, however, is the scientific advances of the expedition, which include the discovery of hundreds of new species of animals and plants, important fossil finds and the compiling of valuable weather data.

Captain Scott’s scientific legacy continues today

 This data of the planet’s historical climate will be the focus of Dr Robert Mulvaney talk ‘Science in the Antarctic – Monitoring Our Planet’, which will take place at the University’s Dalhousie Building on Wednesday, 2nd May. Dr Mulvaney, of the British Antarctic Survey, will explain how proof for man-made climate change lies frozen in the polar ice caps.

“When scientists drill down into the polar regions they find ice that contains tiny pockets of air from earlier times,” explained Dr Mulvaney. “We can use this air to calculate how the atmosphere has changed over several hundred thousand years.

“Other measurements made on the ice allow us to work out how the Earth’s temperature has varied over the same period which we can compare with the atmosphere.”

Dundee has strong links to both of Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s explorations of the Antarctic, as he made both of the journeys aboard the Dundee-built ships – the Discovery and the Terra Nova.

The Discovery crew were beaten to the pole in 1912

Scott and his four companions successfully reached the South Pole in January 1912, only to realise that the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen had beaten them by a matter of weeks. Disheartened and plagued by bad weather, the five men perished on the 900-mile trek back to their base camp.

The event will be hosted by the Tayside and Fife branch of the British Science Association and Dundee Heritage Trust, custodians of Captain Scott’s first Antarctic research ship, the Discovery. The Trust is commemorating the centenary with a year-long programme of special events.

‘Science in the Antarctic – Monitoring Our Planet’ is free and open to all. It takes place at the Dalhousie Building at 6pm on Wednesday, 2nd May. There will be an opportunity for members of the audience to ask Dr Mulvaney questions.

Dr Jon Urch, Press Officer of the Tayside and Fife branch said, “We are delighted to be hosting this exciting talk in Dundee, the city that contributed so much to the first scientific studies of the Antarctic. This brings the story up-to-date with a fascinating account of scientific research in the Antarctic today and its importance in understanding our planet.”