A Successful Return from Oslo
The IPF had an enjoyable and productive time during their stay at the IPY Oslo Conference. About 2,300 scientists, policymakers, teachers and students gathered at the Norway Convention Centre in Lillestrøm just outside Oslo between the 8th and 12th of June. Over the course of five days, polar researchers from all over the world gave 1,800 presentations.
The five-day conference was the largest ever gathering of the polar and IPY research community, allowing participants to catch up, exchange ideas, and meet potential partners from the four corners of the world.
Education & Outreach
Two members of our education team attended the teacher's conference two days prior to the start of the conference: Sandra Vanhove (head of IPF's education team) and Mieke Sterken. Sandra was one of the organizers of the conference and led four workshops on measuring albedo. With about 120 teachers from around 'the world participating, the teacher's conference was a big success. It gave teachers the opportunity to meet colleagues from all over the world as well as a number of polar scientists who also participated in the workshop. Enthusiastic about the outcome of the workshop, the teachers decided to create a Polar Teachers network as an analogue to the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) that currently exists for young researchers.
As a former APECS Education & Outreach Committee member, Mieke Sterken witnessed the official launch of the Polar Resources Book (PRB) (part of APECS' IPY legacy), which she had been involved with since it was first conceived. The IPF contributed five classroom activities and four project stories to this excellent resource book for teachers (available for purchase).
Both women also kept busy during the science conference. Sandra attended the education and outreach conferences, which gave her the opportunity to hear about polar-related education and outreach efforts from around the world. In addition, she introduced the educational materials developed by the IPF's education department during her talk 'Hot Puzzles...Cold Experiments in Class Zero Emission'.
Meanwhile, Mieke gave a presentation about changes in the climate in the Northeastern Antarctic Peninsula since the end of he last ice age as part of a session called 'Climate and paleoclimate dynamics and processes'.
Communication, Science & Networking
Two members of the IPF's communications team also attended: Jean de Pomereu and Joseph Cheek, both journalists for the IPF's SciencePoles website. Jean was present for all five days of the conference, attending the opening ceremony, all the keynote speeches of the conference and about a dozen presentation sessions. He also took part in the IPY legacy workshop on Wednesday 9th June, conducted interviews for SciencePoles with polar researchers, and most notably chaired a session entitled 'IPY in the Media' on Friday 11th June.
Joseph joined Jean at the very end of the conference, giving a successful presentation on the media coverage of the Princess Elisabeth Station at the same media session Jean chaired. He spent the rest of the time making new contacts, setting up interviews with polar scientists, and attending the closing ceremonies.
In addition to work, there were ample opportunities to socialize and network during events such as a boat trip, a barbecue held at the Fram Museum , and the many dinners that were held. An enjoyable time was had by all!
Overall, the IPY Oslo Conference was a successful outing for the IPF. It was an opportunity to represent the IPF and its myriad of activities and initiatives on an international level, get the latest findings in polar research, and broaden our contacts within the global polar science and education community.
The next IPY event, 'From Knowledge to Action', which will focus on taking the knowledge learned from the IPY and putting into action, will be held in Montréal in 2012.