Director of NSF's Office of Polar Programs Reflects on IPY and International Cooperation at the Poles

Collage of Polar stations

Clockwise from top left: IceCube; Karl A. Erb; Summit, Greenland;
Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station; North Pole Environmental


In a pair of interviews with the International Polar Foundation's polar science news Web site, Karl A. Erb, director of the National Science Foundation's Office of Polar Programs (OPP) discusses a range of topics related to IPY and U.S. polar research.

NSF manages the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP). In his role as OPP director, Erb heads the USAP. In addition, NSF is the lead federal agency responsible for implementing Arctic research policy and NSF chairs the Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC). NSF also was the lead agency for the U.S. government during IPY.

Erb joined NSF in 1986, and has been OPP director since 1998. He received his masters and doctoral degrees from the University of Michigan, and his Bachelor of Arts degree from New York University. He is recognized for his research in experimental nuclear physics.

In the first of two interviews, he discusses cross-disciplinary and international cooperation during IPY and the legacy of the International Polar Year.

What follows are excerpts. Read the interview in its entirety here.

In the second interview, Erb discusses various aspects of U.S. polar research, logistics, international cooperation and Polar policy generally. 

What follows are excerpts. Read the interview in its entirety here.