“Belgica” expedition – science in the ice in 1897

The Belgica Expedition 1897-1899
“a tale of extraordinary scientific achievements and of human endurance”
presented by Patrick De Deckker
Emeritus Professor, ANU

Prof. Patrick De Deckker

Can you imagine what a voyage ofdiscovery into uncharted waters of the Antarctic would have been like in 1897? and what important science was recorded then? Come to this Atlas of Life science heritage celebration and find out.

On August 9th at 2:30pm at the Tura Marang Library Professor Patrick De Deckker will share his findings on the scientific expeditionary voyage of the good ship “Belgica”. Patrick’s researches have taken him all the way back to Belgium where the expedition started. At the time, it was still unknown as to whether Antarctica was a continent and the location of the south magnetic pole was unchartered and this voyage discovered many new islands before becoming trapped in the ice for 13 months!

Belgica icebound in Antarctica

This was an amazing voyage of scientific discovery, but until recently the numerous scientific papers from the expedition have been filed away and ignored. Only now is it being realised that some of the oceanographic and meteorological investigations offer very important baseline data as we recognise that the Antarctic Peninsula is one of the places on the globe facing the largest changes and challenges due to global warming.

This presentation was very well received at it’s first showing at the Australian National Library last month. It includes many archives and photographs taken during the expedition. Last year Prof. De Deckker gave a fascinating workshop on the plankton of our coasts and we are very fortunate that he has offered to share his latest very different researches.

Everyone is welcome. Places are limited so please send you name here:



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