Walking on broken ice

Seminar by Prof Louis Beyens (UAntwerpen)

19 October 2017
UAntwerp, Campus Drie Eiken, Aula R.3

walking on broken ice

For decades, Louis Beyens has studied the ecology of the Arctic Polar Region. He is the author of several books on the Artic, the last one being: “Het hoge noorden: een encyclopedie van de Arctis”, which appeared in 2016. In this seminar, Louis will highlight the scientific importance of exploring this pristine territory, and tell about his personal experiences with working in the Arctic.

In their famous book “the Arctic Year” (1958), Freuchen and Salomonsen described: “The quietness of the arctic  solitude and the grandeur and beauty of the scenery create a sense of harmony and happiness, a feeling of freedom from all worries and troubles, which appear to be left behind in the civilized world … There are ample opportunities to conquer obstacles and master difficult situations”.

Does fieldwork in the Arctic nowadays still offer similar perspectives and challenges? Louis Beyens will suggest an answer while reflecting on his experiences of walking among polar bears and walruses, camping between the unique flora of mountain avens and snow saxifrage, balancing on ice and mountain tops.

Looking for tiny creatures in the immense landscape… how does this impact the researcher? Can one still experience a spiritual connection with the landscape that goes beyond the rational?