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12. Panel Discussion on Antarctic Science The panel consisted of Robert B. Thomson (moderator), Lewis M. Branscomb, and Omar bin Abdul Rahman S~5MARY The papers presented in this session provided detailed and informative background on the development of scien- tific research in the Antarctic. Their subjects ranged from the earliest days of south polar exploration, through the exciting days of the Heroic age" at the turn of this century, to the period of the 1957-1958 International Geophysical Year (IGY), which established the inter- national cooperation in the Antarctic that has been successfully maintained to this day. All the speakers drew attention to the fact that the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) and the Antarctic Treaty had originated with the IGY. They described SCAR as a nongovernmental organization composed of scientists from all countries active in Antarctica and intent on promoting continuation of the IGY'S inter- national scientific cooperation. The Antarctic Treaty was characterized as "operating in the world of inter- national diplomacy," and the treaty nations as the U.N.'s "antarctic rangers. n REMARKS BY LEWIS M. BRANSCOMB Branscomb identified three major phases in antarctic research and linked them to technological improvements. The initial phase covered the early explorers' meticulous recording of observations and collection of materials and provided an important base of information for those who followed. The second period began after World War II and culminated in the IGY of 1957-1958. During this phase, 185

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186 improved technology for logistics support (especially icebreakers, tractors, aircraft, and radio communica- tions) permitted better trained professional scientists to take part in antarctic science. Nevertheless, field work conditions still limited the sophistication of instrumentation and support facilities that could be employed and thus continued to restrict scientists to largely descriptive work. The third, and current, mature phase, according to Branscomb, has been emerging throughout the years of the Antarctic Treaty. It draws on the full panoply of sophis- ticated modern scientific tools permitted by improvements in antarctic field support capabilities. Branscomb noted that solar-powered satellite telemetry allows Imre Friedmann's laboratory in Florida to receive measurements of the environmental conditions in the Ross Valley sand- stones, within which the endolithic organisms he is studying live. (Dr. Friedmann's lecture was one of three presented later to participants in the workshop. See below.) Other examples of modern technology include bringing the insights of molecular biology to bear on studies of highly complex ecologies in Antarctica, utilization of specialized telescopes that have been developed specifically to study longwave solar oscilla- tions observable only at the South Pole Station, and inexpensive construction of a 26-mile-long antenna about a mile above the ground plane at Siple Station, located at the magnetic conjugate point from a sister station in Quebec. In Branscomb's view, these examples illustrate four aspects of current antarctic science: (1) That highly sophisticated field work can now proceed hand in hand with base laboratory science, assisted by antarctic base capabilities that supplement support available in home laboratories. This adds significantly to the depth of knowledge that can be obtained from any given study. (2) That much of the most exciting antarctic science relies on imaginative synergy of the unique physical circumstances found in Antarctica, such as the ice sheet (which can be used as a concen- trator of meteorites), the continuous availability of an overhead sun, an atmosphere uniquely lacking in water vapor, the lack of diurnal terrestrial tides, and the absence of pollution and other consequences of human modification of nature.

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187 (3) That the application of modern scientific tools in Antarctica can reveal the history of the planet in many of its most important aspects, going back hundreds of thousands of years and, in geology and paleontology, millions of years. This history is recorded in ice cores and in the evolution of living species in Antarctica; it is waiting to be analyzed to provide insights about the origin, survival, and evolution of life. (Living species are relatively small in number in Antarctica, but extraordinary in their levels of adaptation to the unique environment.) (4) That antarctic science deals more and more with the interdependence of the geological, biological, and climatological history of the continent, drawing on interdisciplinary studies and the increasingly complete mapping and classification of all antarctic regions. This requires increased cooperation among scientists working in the differ- ent regions and thus among active participants in the Antarctic Treaty. Since the enhancement of science programs depends on modern logistics and communications, this would also suggest that increased cooperation among respective national programs will pay dividends in the future to all participants. These trends led Branscomb to conclude that antarcti research had become a carefully structured activity, integrated into the world knowledge base and the main- stream of world science. To illustrate how diverse its applications are, he remarked that the study of the glycopeptides in antarctic cod--that prevent the cod from freezing--could well find its first application in the use of synthetically produced compounds to make smoother ice cream. With respect to resources in Antarctica, Branscomb commented that while exploration of biological and geological resources may reveal resources of value there, the greatest likelihood of practical reward from such studies is in the generation of useful knowledge that will facilitate the search for valuable resources in much more accessible parts of the world. In his view, the peoples of Third World countries will gain more benefits from antarctic science, at least in the near future, if they focus their attention on the knowledge benefits rather than on potential raw materials exploitation.

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188 Finally, he advocated that countries with well- established support facilities and active programs of scientific investigation in Antarctica be encouraged to invite the participation of interested and qualified scientists from Third World countries. In this way they could establish firsthand relationships with the world community engaged in these studies. RElLARKS BY OMAR B IN ABDUL RAHMAN Rahman confessed that as a neophyte to antarctic science he has been greatly impressed by the amount of excellent scientific work carried out in Antarctica. He identified the various factors motivating those conducting scientific research there as follows: For countries close to Antarctica, their proximity requires that they learn as much about this "back yard" as they know about their front yard because it has direct bearing on their everyday life. The wealthy, developed countries that can afford to devote substantial economic resources to scientific research are involved in Antarctica for the same reasons that they are involved elsewhere: their scientists are pushing back the frontiers of knowledge. reasons as well, including that ot presence, wn~cn could mean many different things. Countries in equatorial regions are directly affected by the cold continent with respect to their weather, oceanic currents, and the nutrients in adjacent seas. He They have other . . . . .. . _ . . . . . . cited India as an example of a developing country that feels the need to be involved in antarctic science because of the direct influences of Antarctica on the Indian subcontinent. For small developing countries such as Malaysia, there are more important priorities closer to home; Antarctica is remote or at least is not of pressing interest. This does not mean that their concern for what goes on In Antarctica is less sincere or less genuine. Malaysia's scientists, according to Rahman, few in number though they may be, view themselves as part of the worldwide community of scientists and are interested in what goes on in Antarctica. He noted that what happens in the name of science in Antarctica can have global ramifications and that Malaysians are inhabitants of that globe. Moreover, Rahman pointed out that research is not always carried out for the sake of acquiring knowledge;

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189 it may be exploitative in nature or merely a front, as suggested in Dr. Roots' presentation (Chapter 11). He noted that it has also been said that in antarctica scientists are proxies of the big powers and carry out work of interest to the powers concerned. While the speaker acknowledged that the international nature of antarctic science is generally accepted, he stressed that what was being questioned was the adminis- tration of Antarctica, the political/legal aspects of Antarctica. The recent response to this questioning from those in control had been initially patronizing, if not downright condescending. He characterized the reactions of those powers controlling the well-funded, high- technology programs as reminiscent of the old "go play with your colored beads; leave big magic well alone." Rahman concluded by commending the exemplary inter- national cooperation in Antarctica and expressing his wish that this same singlemindedness of purpose could be applied to solving such urgent world problems as the control of desertification in Africa. SUMMARY OF THE DISCUSSION Comments on the presentations emphasized the global significance of much of antarctic research and the consequent importance of continuing and expanding international cooperation in this research. This cooperation was deemed especially valuable in studying subjects for which a great deal-of work remains to be done, such as the understanding of relationships among the atmosphere, oceans, and ice. Motives behind the accession of new countries to the Antarctic Treaty were also discussed. There were those who believed that at least in some cases accession was driven by an interest in antarctica's resource potential rather than in scientific research. Other speakers tended to dispel this idea, demonstrating a genuine interest in participating in antarctic research based on its international importance. They stated that past actions should not be construed to indicate that these countries are not interested in antarctic science; they now wish to become better informed and realize that if they do not begin to show interest now, it will be more difficult for them to learn in the future. There was widespread agreement that the scientific achievements during and after the IGY could be described

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190 as immense and that resulting publications have provided a wealth of scientific information. The point was made that this information, covering the whole spectrum of antarctic science, has not been restricted to the antarctic community, as believed by some; a vast amount of published material is available to the international community, in addition to all the data regularly provided to established world data centers. Antarctic research is, in effect, already internationalized, and its results are the "common heritage. n Nevertheless, in the view of some participants, the discussion underscored that while many attendees appeared generally well informed on Antarctic Treaty matters, they lacked knowledge of the role and work of SCAR and had little appreciation of the importance of antarctic research to improved understanding of global phenomena and problems. They noted that there appears to be a need for wide distribution of an informative publication on the real value of science in Antarctica. One speaker noted that while scientific activities in Antarctica are likely to go on forever, commercial activities, with the likely exception of tourism, will probably occur only for a finite period on the order of 10 to 20 years. Resource activities will be important for their short-term effects, but they will be far less significant than science to the future of Antarctica. Over the long term, Antarctica is an ideal platform from which to monitor the rest of the globe and to continue the wide range of research identified by the speakers as so necessary and beneficial to humankind. Even in the short term, in discussing various uses of the Antarctic, science was believed to be the most important and immediate activity of economic importance to the international community. There was some discussion of the types of activity that have occurred over the years in the north polar regions. Despite considerable resource development there, some participants maintained that science continues to be one of the main industries in the north as well. It was noted that research is vital to the establish- ment of effective regimes for the conservation and management of resources as well as to the identification . . . , ~ ot potentially exploitable resources, such as minerals and icebergs. One participant suggested that recent developments in high technology can be of great assistance to many antarctic programs, particularly those requiring con-

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191 sinuous monitoring. For instance, he believed that the increased use of polar-orbiting satellites presents excellent opportunities for contributions to antarctic science programs. The lateness of the hour and the proposed early start the following morning limited the discussion period. The chairman closed the meeting, expressing hope that addi- tional time might be provided the following day to permit further discussions on the subject of antarctic science. Unfortunately, time did not allow for a further formal session to be scheduled, but many references were made to science during sessions devoted to related topics. In addition, the U.S. National Science Foundation arranged for workshop participants to attend three informative lectures by U.S. Antarctic Research Program scientists at the Beardmore Camp. Anna C. Palmisan spoke on the ecology of sea ice microbial communities in McMurdo Sound, Imre Friedmann on endolithic microorganisms within antarctic rocks ("la dolce vita, n as he characterized it), and William Cassidy on his work with meteorites discovered in Antarctica. Each scientist addressed the wider implications of his/her specific research project.

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