How far do the members of the National Science Board (NSB) have to go for science? How about to the end of the earth? This is exactly where Cal Poly Pomona President Bob H. Suzuki was Dec. 4 - 7, 1999.
Suzuki arrived at McMurdo Station on the Antarctic coast with another NSB member and two members of the National Science Foundation (NSF) to review the research activities being conducted in Antarctica as well as the progress being made in building the new South Pole Station. Each year the NSF funds about $200 million in Antarctica research projects. Last year the NSB approved a $150 million to build a new South Pole Station.
"A wide range of cutting-edge research is being conducted by American scientists in Antarctica," said Suzuki. "Antarctica is the best, and sometimes only site, for research on global warming and the depletion of the ozone layer."
Scientists, working with state-of-the art, exotic infrared and neutrino telescopes, are conducting research in the frontiers of astrophysics, which could unveil information about the universe in its formative stages over a billion years ago. Biologists are also conducting research on microorganisms, which live in sub-glacial lakes with saline concentrations ten times that of the ocean and on the foraging behavior of Weddell seals who live their entire lives under the ice shelf in McMurdo Sound.
Accompanying Suzuki to Antarctica were Dr. John Armstrong, fellow NSB member and former head of research for IBM; Dr. Stephanie Pfirman, chair of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Advisory Committee for Polar Programs and chair of the Department of Environmental Studies at Barnard College; and Dr. Karl Erb, director of Polar Programs for NSF.
"The trip was fabulous and probably the most memorable trip I have ever taken," said Suzuki. "The Antarctic is a spectacular place with many mountain ranges and huge glaciers all covered with snow as far as the eye can see. It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience!"
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