Ready for the great experiment

Published on 04.05.2009 - TAE57-58 Fuchs Foundation

The four British teachers selected by the Fuchs Foundation to be part of this experiment on the Greenland icecap have arrived on site and are raring to go.

Obviously, the Fuchs Foundation does things properly. The brilliant and highly original idea that began last year in Antarctica's Ellsworth Mountains (see our reports from last year) involves sending young teachers out into a hostile natural environment so that they can conduct scientific experiments that will give them new ideas designed to inspire the students attending their future classes and help debunk the perception of science as a 'boring' subject.

This time around, the teachers will be embarking on a short crossing of Greenland. Setting out from Angmagssalik on the east coast (a small hamlet to the south of Kulusuk), they will head for the west coast and then probably onwards to Kangerlussuaq on Sondre Stromfjord. It is exactly the same crossing that the Finns on the 'Greenland 2009 Expedition' have just completed, but in the opposite direction. The distance they intend to cover is approximately 650 kilometres.

According to the expedition leader, everything has been done as professionally as possible. Which means that the four teachers selected for the trip, Danny Golding (University of Bedfordshire), Helena Nunan (Sir William Borlase School, Marlow, Buckinghamshire) Nicola Rowland (John of Gaunt School, Trowbridge, Wiltshire) and Andy Stephenson (Newcastle College, Tyne & Wear) can be contacted by their students throughout the crossing via the expedition's e-mail address. And if a specific study need requiring an immediate answer crops up along the way, the four can even be reached by satellite phone!

This is a summary of the experiments and observations that the four teachers will be conducting during the expedition:

  • Danny Golding (sports and outdoor adventure psychologist) will be handling anything to do with psychology on the ice and especially human thought processes when faced with sub-zero temperatures.
  • Helena Nunan (science and biology teacher) will examine the physical performance of the participants and look at relations between the canine world and humans (because they will be using dog sleds as their means of locomotion).
  • Nicola Rowland (geography teacher) will study the thermal properties of igloos and calculate their thermal efficiency. She will also measure the effects that black carbon fallout from the atmosphere produced by human activities is having on the Greenland icecap.
  • Andy Stevenson (sport physiology and biomechanics teacher) will be studying the effects of the absence of darkness on the human body. He will also be examining a number of Inuits to see whether living in the Arctic increases the body's ability to tolerate cold.

For more details of these scientific programmes, go to this page. The team's departure is imminent.

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