Arctic conference held at the College

Just as Dartmouth students were taking their final exams and preparing to return home for winter break, the world’s leading experts on arctic exploration gathered at Dartmouth for a conference.

The purpose of the conference was “scientific planning,” said Government Professor Oran Young, who attended it.

The participants “first set priorities for arctic research and then discussed the scientific and implementation methods,” he said.

Countries represented at the conference included Canada, China, Finland, Japan, the United States, Norway, Russia and Sweden, said Julia Wright, the director of arctic conferences for the Dickey Foundation.

With such a broad representation of countries, the College recruited Russian and Chinese-speaking Dartmouth students to help organize and translate at the conference

Young described the symposium as an “opportunity to advance [his] interest in the study of the interaction between the biological and human systems.”

The keynote speakers were Canada’s ambassador to the Circumpolar North, Dr. Dimitri Zotov of the Russian delegation to the conference and representatives of Vice President Al Gore’s National Science Foundation.

The conference consisted of “general meetings, working group meetings and keynote addresses,” Wright said.

“There were 10 working groups which focused on a broad range of issues including the effects of ultraviolet light in the arctic, mass balance of ice sheets, and sustainable development of indigenous people and natural resources” Wright said.

The reports from the working groups are scheduled to be printed in March.

The College has designed special displays to commemorate the conference.

“A sled used by [Commodore] Peary, which was used to reach the North Pole, a Kayak from the Dartmouth Special Collections and clothing” are displayed in the rotunda of the Hopkins Center, Wright said.

A second exhibit commemorating the conference is in the hallway of Special Collections in Baker library, which “displays the achievements of Lincoln Ellsworth, a turn-of-the-century explorer of the Arctic.”

The conference was co-hosted by Dartmouth and the U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in Hanover.

“Even though the IASC is a non-governmental organization, funding for the conference was also provided by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences,” Young said.

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