Past event

From Nansen to the Polar Academy: the Past, Present and Future of Greenland Exploration from Fife

Join Professor Adrian Finch of the School of Earth & Environmental Sciences and Craig Mathieson of The Polar Academy alongside students as they share their experiences and insights into Greenland expeditions over the last ten years at this free public lecture, open to all.

The ancient whaling tradition in the East of Scotland meant that explorers such as Shackleton looked to our region for expertise and inspiration. Fridtjof Nansen, Rector of the University of St Andrews in 1926,  was the first person to cross the Greenland Ice Cap.

In his inaugural Rectorial address he told the people of Fife: "We all have a Land of Beyond to seek in our life... rooted deep in the nature of every one of us is the spirit of adventure, the call of the wild." His challenge to Fife was taken up by future generations and the University of St Andrews established a long tradition of Arctic Exploration.

Expeditions to Greenland took place in the 1930s and 1950s and members of the University worked with the Greenland Geological Survey to map some of the remotest parts of our planet. This research collaboration continues to the present day.

Greenland is an important natural laboratory for geological studies, without soil to obscure the rocks and with glaciers carving three-dimensional slices through geological structures. Greenland expeditions have most recently been funded by the EU scientific consortium HiTech AlkCarb (which uses the rocks of Greenland to understand how to explore for the rare metals found in mobile phones) and the Mining Institute of Scotland Trust, which supports Greenland expeditions to allow Scottish graduates to hone their exploration skills.

Those who have taken part in the expeditions have been transformed and enhanced by their experience. This lecture is open to anyone interested in the outdoors, the Arctic and what it can teach us. It is also an opportunity to find out about The Polar Academy, the University and how geological research in Arctic environments is allowing us to address the challenges of green technologies.

The sessions will end with informal question and answer sessions with all the participants and a display of some of the rare minerals found in Greenland.