Signing of Explorers Globe on Feb. 12 Kicks off University of Delaware's IPY Celebrations

Photo of William S. Carlson

William S. Carlson


On Tues., Feb. 12 on the University of Delaware's Newark campus, Lawson Brigham, deputy director of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission, penned his name on the American Geographical Society's Fliers' and Explorers' Globe, an iconic symbol that bears the signatures of some of the world's best-known explorers.

The historic globe-signing kicked off  “The William S. Carlson International Polar Year Events,” a series of public lectures, receptions, research seminars, art exhibits, and film showings at the university, to increase public awareness of the world's polar regions. Register here for the events.

Carlson was the university's president from 1946 to 1950 and an active polar researcher himself.  He led an expedition to Greenland, established air bases in the Arctic as a colonel in the U.S. Army Air Forces, and wrote about his experiences in  the books Greenland Lies North (1940) and Lifelines Through the Arctic (1962). He also was a founding member of the Arctic Institute of North America.

“The Carlson International Polar Year Events are designed to cultivate interest in Earth's polar regions throughout the university and beyond,” said Frederick “Fritz” Nelson, professor of geography, and director of the university's Permafrost Group. Nelson co-chairs the steering committee for the series with Lesa Griffiths, director of the university's Center for International Studies.

“Our goal is to offer intellectually stimulating public lectures, departmental seminars, and interdisciplinary activities that will raise consciousness on campus, and in the local and state communities, about the global importance of Antarctica and the Arctic,” Nelson added.

As a captain in the U.S. Coast Guard, Brigham commanded the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Sea on the first voyage to the polar limits of the global ocean, from the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica to the North Pole. Brigham will be introduced by representatives of the American Geographical Society.

His name will join those of Amelia Earhart, the famed aviatrix; Robert Peary and Roald Amundsen, first to reach the North and South Poles, respectively; Sir Edmund Hillary, the first to scale Mt. Everest; and Neil Armstrong, the first to set foot on the moon.  

Brigham will also give the first public lecture of the series: “A New Arctic Ocean: Responding to Marine Access at the Top of the World,” on Tues., Feb. 14, at 7:30 p.m. at the university's Roselle Center for the Arts. Brigham will highlight what receding sea ice means to trade, tourism, and resource use in the once-remote Arctic.

The AGS Fliers' and Explorers' Globe, which rarely travels, will be displayed from Feb. 13 through March 14, 2008 at the Morris Library on the university's campus. The library exhibit will also feature a large collection of antique polar maps, some dating back to the 18th century, and other polar artifacts.

Web Links

The University of Delaware's IPY site.

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