17 October, 2002

Five British Antarctic Survey (BAS) scientists will give lectures to the public in Tralee, County Kerry during Irish Science Week, 10-17 November 2002. Together they will bring the message of the importance of Antarctica and its scientific relevance to the birthplace of Ireland?s Antarctic hero, Tom Crean. Kerry County Museum is currently staging a major Antarctica Exhibition focussed on the heritage of Antarctic exploration and the Kerry explorer Tom Crean. Modern-day Antarctica has been incorporated into the exhibition with exhibits and display material from the British Antarctic Survey. This contribution will now be augmented by daily talks from British Antarctic Survey scientists during Irish Science Week. The talks given by a different scientist each day, will describe the excitement of Antarctic science in the 21st Century. Brian Gardiner, one of the three British scientists who discovered the Antarctic Ozone Hole in 1985, will be speaking at Trinity College Dublin in addition to his talk in Tralee. BAS Director, Professor Chris Rapley, said ?BAS is delighted to take part in the Antarctic Exhibition and Irish Science Week in Tralee. Antarctica today is an important natural laboratory for understanding how the Earth functions. Its ice sheet archives nearly a million years of climate; its ozone hole was unpredicted and shows that our understanding of the atmosphere was less than perfect; its ice sheet has the capacity to raise sea level and flood coastal regions; and the Southern Ocean that surrounds the continent has food reserves that, if sustainably used, could help feed an ever-growing world population. Scientists from BAS enjoy describing why Antarctic science is important and I am sure that the talks by BAS staff in Dublin and Kerry will provide a new insight for all into this fascinating and critical part of our Earth?. Marking the launch, David Taylor, Chief Executive of Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) said ?SEI is delighted to be associated with this important initiative of Kerry Museum in bringing these experts from BAS to share their knowledge throughout Science Week. Their activities, and those of their colleagues around the world, provide the scientific analysis and forecasts that impel organisations like Sustainable Energy Ireland to develop programmes which we hope in time will help avert the dramatic and undesirable impact of global warming on this planet. We see it as vital that consumers in all sectors are first fully informed of the environmental challenge facing us before they can be empowered to respond with more sustainable energy behaviour”. The Mayor of Tralee, Councillor John Wall said ?I must express my thanks to the British Antarctic Survey for their support of the Antarctica Exhibition in Kerry County Museum and for the lecture series we are looking forward to. 2002 is the centenary of the Kerry Education Service and I?m pleased that the lectures will be aimed at a student audience. I must pay tribute to BAS for its work over the years highlighting the important role Antarctic science plays in understanding about our Earth. From the outside it is clear that the British Antarctic Survey?s pioneering work led to the Montreal Protocol on Ozone Depletion, and has influenced subsequent international agreements aimed at protecting the global environment. We look forward to other Irish people following in the footsteps of Tom Crean and I am sure that the visit by BAS scientists next month will inspire Irish students to pursue science as a career?. The launch of the Kerry Antarctica Week programme took place at the British Antarctic Survey headquarters in Cambridge in the presence of the Mayor of Tralee, Councillor John Wall, the Economic Councillor at the Irish Embassy in London, Sean Murray, the Curator of Kerry County Museum, Helen O?Carroll, the Director of the British Antarctic Survey, Professor Chris Rapley, and the scientists giving talks in Ireland.

Above: The Mayor of Tralee and Brian Gardiner (BAS) examine an ice sample (L). The BAS lecture team that are to travel to Ireland, pictured with the Mayor of Tralee, Councillor John Wall. Pictures left to right are: Professor Elizabeth Morris, Dr Julian Paren, Councillor John Wall, Dr Brian Gardiner, Dr John Watkins, Mike Dinn. Click on the images to enlarge them.