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Media Advisory 07-006

U.S. Launches International Polar Year on Feb. 26

National Science Foundation and National Academies to co-host kick-off in Washington, D.C.; event will be webcast live

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International Polar Year is a global research effort.

February 22, 2007

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

The United States will mark the start of International Polar Year (IPY) with an event hosted by the National Academies and the National Science Foundation on Feb. 26, 2007, in Washington, D.C. During the ceremony, a panel of polar scientists will discuss the latest research and present an overview of expeditions to take place during IPY. There will also be remarks from government leaders whose agencies play an active role in this international effort.

International Polar Year is a global research effort to better understand the polar regions and their climatic effect on the Earth. More than 200 scientific expeditions will take place over the next two years to study changes to permafrost, the melting of polar ice sheets, and marine life in the cold and dark. The research completed during IPY will provide a baseline for understanding future environmental change.


Monday, Feb. 26, 2007, 10 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., eastern time


Auditorium, National Academy of Sciences building, 2100 C St., N.W., Washington, D.C.

Those who cannot attend may watch a live video webcast of the event and submit questions using an e-mail form.


Ralph Cicerone, President, National Academy of Sciences

U.S. Government Leadership Panel:

  • Arden L. Bement,Jr., Director, National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • Lisa Murkowski, U.S. Senator, State of Alaska
  • Brian Baird, U.S. Congressman, State of Washington – 3rd District
  • P. Lynn Scarlett, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior
  • James L. Connaughton, Chairman, White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ)
  • Paula J. Dobriansky, Under Secretary, Democracy and Global Affairs, U.S. Department of State
  • Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr., Under Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Department of Commerce
  • David L. Evans, Under Secretary for Science, Smithsonian Institution
  • Mark D. Myers, Director, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
  • James Herrington, Director of International Relations, Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Panel of Scientists:

  • Robin E. Bell, Doherty Senior Research Scientist, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University
  • Robert Bindschadler, Chief Scientist, Hydrospheric and Biospheric Sciences Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
  • Gretchen E. Hofmann, Associate Professor, Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Deanna Kingston, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, Oregon State University
  • Konrad Steffen, Director, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado - Boulder
  • Mead Treadwell, Chair, US Arctic Research Commission

Reporters must register in advance with the National Academies' Office of News and Public Information, tel. 202-334-2138 or e-mail

Public registration for this free event and more information about IPY is available online at


Media Contacts
Maureen O'Leary, National Academy of Sciences, (202) 334-2138, email:
Peter West, National Science Foundation, (703) 292-7761, email:
Dana Topousis, National Science Foundation, (703) 292-7750, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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