The symposium, which is also part of the “University of the Arctic: Providing Higher Education and Outreach Programs for the International Polar Year” (IPY Project #189), provided a venue where 35 early career polar scientists, currently working in 7 different countries, (a) learned from each other and from 12 veteran polar scientists, some of whom took part in the 1957/58 International Geophysical Year; (b) shared ideas and techniques for educational outreach; (c) expanded their historical, scientific, and professional outlook; and (d) began to forge lifelong, interdisciplinary collegial relationships with their peers.
The participants of this symposium have forged a new group within the larger Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS), IPY Project #168. Some materials and information from the NGPR symposium will be archived at the American Institute of Physics (AIP) and a fuller collection will be made available on the NGPR website. These locations will make resources available to the full community of current and future early career polar researchers, historians, and others with polar interests.
In addition to formal presentations, the participants took advantage of visual media to record their personal interests in polar environments and individual research plans. These will be made available through the website mentioned above. The AIP will transcribe and archive relevant portions of the symposium, including 2-minute video clips of participants describing their IPY research goals, keynote addresses, and oral histories of the keynote speakers collected by historians of science.
Key highlights from the Symposium include:
Research: All participants gave a 7-minute research talk and followed-up with a poster presentation later that day. Additionally, participants generated video clips discussing their research goals and future plans.
Outreach: Select participants discussed their existing outreach activities, and discussion groups focused on a variety of outreach forms. Training was provided on communicating across disciplines and with the media. After a training session on student outreach participants engaged a group of visiting second-grade students in a series of Polar literacy activities.
Keynote presentations: Keynote presentations by established and veteran polar scientists are listed below. Many of these will be reproduced as video or slide presentations through the NGPR webpage:
- Why History Matters. Ronald E. Dole and Kristine C. Harper, Florida State University
- Early Polar Exploration. Donal T. Manahan, University of Southern California
- IGY Remembered – Eyewitness Accounts: John C. Behrendt, University of Colorado, and Philip M. Smith, Retired, The National Academies
- IGY Remembered – Perspectives by Historians of Science. Ronald E. Doel and Kristine C. Harper
- Planning the 1957/58 IGY, 2008/08 IPY and into the future. Philip M. Smith and Chris Elfring, The National Academies
- IPY 2007/08: Scientific Impacts and Opportunities. David J. Carlson, IPY IPO
- Understanding Climate Change – Stories from the Ice. Ellen Mosley-Thompson and Lonnie G. Thompson, Ohio State University
Panel Discussions: Panel discussions involving veteran scientists were followed by break-out discussions with small groups of participants and selected mentors discussing one topic from different perspectives. Reports from the panels and following discussions will include:
- International Science – Challenges and Opportunities
- Interdisciplinary Collaborations – Challenges and Opportunities
- Media and Policy – Challenges and Opportunities
- Maintaining an appropriate work/life balance
Professional Development Training: The symposium involved a training component as well as the elements related specifically to research. Presentations included:
- National Science Foundation: Overview of Polar Programs and the proposal process. Julie Palais, NSF Office of Polar Programs
- Climbing Your Mountains – And Keeping Your Balance! Ellen Mosley-Thompson and Lonnnie G. Thompson
- Distilling Your Science. C. Susan Weiler, Whitman College
- Team Building and Facilitation Skills. Christina Olex, The Point
- Polar Education and Outreach. Jenny L. Baeseman, Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S.
- Media Training. Molly Bentley, BBC Science Radio
- Making Interdisciplinarity Work. Stephanie Pfirman, Barnard College
- Catalyzing Change. Sheldon D. Drobot, University of Colorado
Oral Histories: Historians of science Ronald E. Doel and Kristine C. Harper collected oral histories from several of the keynote speakers. These will be transcribed and archived by the American Institute of Physics Center for the History of Physics.
Acknowledgements: The NGPR Symposium and webpage were funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation through collaborative grants ARC-0632324 to C. Susan Weiler (Whitman College), ARC-0632312 to Sheldon D. Drobot (University of Colorado), and ARC-0632324 Supplement (Whitman College) to Jenny L. Baeseman (APECS/ARCUS/IARC).