The Belgica expedition. A scientific success poorly known outside Belgium

Imagine being stuck on a wooden ship, in Antarctica’s sea ice, 13 months long, hundreds of miles away from the nearest human settlement. This was once reality for the crew of the Belgica expedition, the first ship to winter in the Antarctic Region. In the period 1897-1899 Adrien De Gerlache and his crew sailed south to Antarctica in an attempt to reach Cape Adare (Victoria Land, Continental Antarctica), meanwhile collecting valuable scientific data. This was the topic of yesterday’s talk by Em. Prof. Patrick De Deckker (Australian National University, Canberra) at the Royal Belgian Institute for Natural Sciences in Brussels. Prof. De Deckker gave an enlightening talk about the Belgica, its crew, their endeavours, and their incredibly valuable scientific data. The conclusion of the day was that, despite the outstanding observations and samples collected during this expedition, the Belgica expedition is too often ignored or forgotten by the international scientific community. It is for us, young polar scientists, to help turn the tide!

For those who are interested to learn more about the Belgica expedition, you still have the chance to listen to Prof. De Deckker during the next coming days – highly recommended! Here‘s an overview of all dates.

(Wednesday, 25.10.2017, Oostende, 13:30h – only for VLIZ staff)

Wednesday, 25.10.2017, Antwerpen, 20:00h, free for the public and friends of The Belgica Society International, but need to register here!

Thursday, 26.10.2017, Leuven, 16:00h, free for university staff & students

Monday, 30.10.2017, Gent, 19:00h, free for the public and scientists, but register here!

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The live display of a Belgica model at the Museum, Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences.

Header picture: Prof. De Deckker during the introduction of his lecture at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences.

Written by Eveline Pinseel.