Despite the pandemic, science continues in Antarctica #ST27 [fr]
On Friday, November 30, the 78 French and 37 Italian members of the 2020 expedition of IPEV (Institut Polaire Paul Emile Victor), the French scientific research organization in the Polar Regions, have finished their fourteen-day quarantine in Hobart without any COVID-19 cases being reported. This step marks the end of a long journey to enable these scientists and technical crew to carry out the annual campaign, despite the closure of Australia’s external borders.
Thanks to the continued support of the Tasmanian government and the Tasmanian Polar Network, a privatized commercial plane left Europe in mid-October (departure from Paris and stopover in Rome), to take the team directly to Hobart, where it was isolated in a hotel specially designed for this purpose.
The crew will board the French naval ship Astrolabe in the coming days to complete the full rotation of personnel at the French station Dumont d’Urville. The continuity of these rotations is crucial for the supply and maintenance of the station’s activity; this season is another great demonstration of the excellent level of cooperation between Australia and France in Antarctica.
The crew, wearing the "Tasmanian" T-shirt offered by the Tasmanian Polar Network
On Thursday 29th October, the juries of the scientific competition competition on the theme of antarctic science the Astrolabe, organized in partnership with the Embassy of France in Australia, were held at the French-Australian Télopéa Park School of Canberra. Students in their 10th grade had to imagine and realise a scientific study on a theme of their choice, related to the French building L’Astrolabe supplying the Antarctic. This project gives them a first approach to scientific research methods.
For this third edition, 64 students presented their projects, as the result of 3 months of group work. Classified in two categories ’biology’ and ’physics and chemistry’, the students explained their research work to a jury composed of one of their teachers, a researcher from the Australian National University (ANU), a member of the Embassy’s scientific team and a member of the Embassy’s defence mission.
The quality of all the presentations shows the remarkable investment of all the students in these projects. This year, due to sanitary conditions, the winners will not travel to Hobart to visit the French ship but will have the chance to visit various laboratories in Canberra, such as the CSIRO. At the beginning of December, they will also have the opportunity to interact by videoconference with researchers at the Concordia station, in partnership with the Italian Embassy as part of the celebration of Antarctica Day on December 1st, 2020.
This initiative aims to promote science and STEM (Science/ Technology/Engineering/Mathematics) careers among students, especially young girls. Researchers Ingrid Albion and Clotilde Langlais tell an ABC interview about their stay in Antarctica during a recent 100% female expedition!