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PASSCAL Scientist Describes Working in Antarctica for Enthusiastic Library Audience

On June 23, 2014, PASSCAL Senior Staff Scientist/Polar Project Field Engineer Dean Childs gave a talk on "Working in Antarctica" to an absorbed audience at the Socorro Public Library.

Dean's talk ran 1 hour and 45 minutes, including a followup Q&A. He discussed several topics with the 25+ attendees, who ranged in age from 7 to 70.




Right: Dean Childs deployed at GLISN station DY2G in southern Greenland.

Dean covered the following areas:
  • General Summary of PASSCAL operations and mission.
  • A brief Antarctic exploration historical perspective.
  • What is Antarctica?
  • Getting there
  • What we are doing and why?
    1. Emphasizing the relevant scientific objectives.
  • Who is on the field team?
  • Wildlife

Questions were abundant, especially from inquisitive youth in the audience. The talk was coordinated by the Socorro Public Library's Britta Herweg for this year's Summer Reading Activities, for which the theme this year was science related: "FIZZ, BOOM , READ." Ms. Herweg had this to say about Dean's presentation:

It was amazing how many questions both adults and kids asked, with a range from "How long ago was the antarctic continent not covered by ice at all?" to "What happens when the volcano erupts next to McMurdoch station? How would you get out of there?" Nobody knew that scientists are digging for dinosaurs in the mountain ranges of Antarctica -- really interesting. Also, Antarctica is a desert.... but it looks so different from the desert we live in! The children were really intrigued by the problems of field work under harsh conditions. The success in presenting your work to children (and teens) in my opinion lies in the middle of scientific information and the practicalities of field work. They are really interested in the  down and dirty manual work scientists do, not so much the numbers.  Thanks again to Dean for taking the time for this presentation..... he handled the questions very well, even from that one kid who said he thought the problems of how to go to the bathroom in subzero temperatures was the most interesting fact. Thanks to PASSCAL for all the valuable research you do as well!