17 January, 2012 News stories

This week scientists and support staff at British Antarctic Survey (BAS) commemorate Captain Robert Falcon Scott and his companions, who reached the South Pole exactly one hundred a years ago.

A number of visits, activities and exhibitions throughout the world remember Scott and the legacy of his scientific endeavours.

Prime minister David Cameron relayed a message to all British science and support staff who work in Antarctica praising their work and to take a few moments today to reflect on the achievements of Scott, Amundsen and other early explorers. He also mentioned that their courage, determination and spirit was an inspiration to us all.

Foreign Office Minister Henry Bellingham visited BAS on the eve of the centenary and heralded the work of British polar scientists in helping to shape the understanding needed for managing climate change and contributing to the UK’s work for the peaceful protection of Antarctica.

He said:

“There is a golden thread that stretches from Captain Scott and his contemporaries right through to the most cutting-edge climate change and environmental science of today. It is no accident that the Antarctic continent is legally devoted to peace and pursuit of science. It stems from the spirit of Scott and endures today because of the continuing work of the British Antarctic Survey, the Scott Polar Research Institute and others.”

BAS has contributed to two exhibitions in London to remember Scott which open in London this week. The first is ‘Scott’s Last Expedition’ at the Natural History Museum which includes the team’s artefacts, diaries and collections. ‘With Scott to the Pole: the Terra Nova Expedition, 1910–1913’ at the Royal Geographical Society shows the contrast between modern day Antarctic exploration to that of Scott’s day with photographs by Herbert Ponting of the expedition alongside photographs of modern day science undertaken by BAS.

A BAS science party is currently working at the US research station Amundsen-Scott Base, based at the geographical South Pole, and participated in commemorative celebrations on the ground. Under the Union flag scientists and support staff from the station joined tourists, many who have retraced Scott’s footsteps to read expedition diary extracts and toast Scott and his team’s memory.

Watch Rothera Research Station’s tribute video to mark the Scott Centenary: