Campus: CSU Northridge -- February 7, 2003

Library Exhibit Explores the Cold Truths of Polar Exploration


The late Cal State Northridge geography professor Arnold Court accompanied Admiral Richard Byrd on one of his last trips to the Antarctic in 1939 through 1941.

Court's memoirs of the trip and equipment he used, both to survive the brutal cold and to conduct what were at the time considered cutting-edge scientific experiments, are on display this month through April in CSUN's Oviatt Library.

"At the time of the Little America expedition, the poles were kind of what space is now - a vast unknown," said university archivist Tony Gardner, curator of the exhibit. "Polar exploration was extremely dangerous, and the explorers took everything with them to survive. They went in these fragile wooden sailing ships that traveled through seas of ice.

"Like going into space is now, it was a time of adventure, excitement, discovery, and also danger," Gardner said. "The expeditions served as an inspiration for generations, but they also took many lives."

The library exhibit will feature artifacts from Court's trip with Byrd to the Antarctic on the 1939-1941 Little America expedition as well as papers, books and other paraphernalia he collected over the years on polar exploration.

Court taught at CSUN for 22 years. The author of some 165 publications, Court was best known for his work in climatology, especially wind analysis, methods for the presentation of weather data and the history of climatology. After he died in 1999, his family donated his collection to the university.

The library will pay tribute to his memory with a special reception at 6 p.m. on March 12. That evening Peter Brueggeman, director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Library, will give a presentation on diving under the Antarctic ice.

Brueggeman took part in two Antarctic underwater photography expeditions in 1997 and 1999 sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The expeditions were featured in a recent PBS nature show entitled "Under Antarctic Ice." Brueggeman's presentation March 12 will include color photographs from the diving expeditions.

The exhibit is located in the Exhibition Gallery in the west wing of the second floor of Oviatt Library. The library is in the center of the campus at 18111 Nordhoff St. in Northridge.

For information about the exhibit, call the library at (818) 677-2638.

Contact: Carmen Ramos Chandler, (818) 677-2130, carmen.chandler@csun.edu


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