Summit is one of the most isolated places on earth, but we managed to find several familiar faces. Upon our arrival we meet Greenland’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Inuuteq Holm Olsen, who was departing after a several day visit with an international science education group made up of high school students from Greenland, Denmark, and the U.S. Mr. Olsen has twice been to Dartmouth, and he has helped shape Dartmouth’s relationship with the Greenland Self Government for joint opportunities around science education. He will meet with the IGERT group when we reach Nuuk to discuss current issues that he feels are important for our group to understand so we can better partner with Greenlanders to produce research that is important to problems facing his country.
After I settled in and came over to the “Big House” I ran into Wiley Bogren, Dartmouth Class of 2007. Wiley and Dartmouth grad and IGERT Fellow Chris Polashenski spent a term in Alaska to study sea ice along the North Coast of Alaska. Clearly they both caught a life long case of polar fever. Wiley is now a PhD student at NILU, University of Norway working with Dr. John Burkhart on Arctic atmospheric research using remote controlled aircraft.
My surprises continue. I next saw Ian McKay a past Dartmouth student, now a BS/MS engineering student at MIT. I first met Ian at McMurdo Station, Antarctica where he was working to support science. Ian is a world class nordic skier. Much to the dismay of the Kiwis (New Zealanders) from nearby Scott Base, Ian handily won the ski race and the Scott’s Hut Road Race. (http://thedartmouth.com/2008/05/09/mirror/spotlight)
It goes on. One of the legendary personalities of Arctic and Antarctic research stations is “The Commander”. I overlapped with Commander a number of years in Antarctica. He is famous for his personality, colorful shirts, and the zipper pulls that he makes and passes on as a gift of good will. When I came in early for Sunday breakfast, Commander was quietly singing and making a new stack of zipper pulls. He then went around the room and present a pull to all the IGERT team. A very special event. THANKS Commander!
What do I make of all this. First Dartmouth is a player in polar science and IGERT will only add to those accomplishments. Second, polar science is a small and wonderfully tight international community. It can’t be beat. I have polar fever too.