Time to Witness PolReC Expeditions
Oct 21, 2016

Is Antarctica as distant and unreachable as most of us think? The exhibition Our Antarctica - Images from the Great White South shows that one doesn’t necessarily have to get to the South Pole to discover Antarctica. The exhibition, which includes, inter alia, 10 pictures from the exhibition in which ITU Polar Research Centre (PolReC) team was involved, will be displayed till November 14, 2016. 

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The exhibition has been brought to Ankara by the
“Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research” (SCAR), for which full membership processes of Council of Managers of National Antarctic Program (COMNAP) and TUBITAK are in progress. Hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Suna Çokgür Ilıcak Art Gallery, the exhibition introduces to art and geography lovers scenes from the southern tip of the world depicted in 42 photographs taken by research teams from various countries during their Antarctica expedition. Display of photographs in the exhibition taken during ITU PolReC’s 2016 expedition contributes to the publicity of Turkey’s Antarctica research. 

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Istanbul Technical University was represented at the opening reception of the exhibition by ITU Vice Rector Telem Gök Sadıkoglu and ITU PolReC team including the Director Assoc. Prof. Burcu Özsoy. Representatives from various embassies and ministries were also present at the reception. Prof. David Winston Harris, a fellow of British Antarctic Survey and the coordinator of the exhibition, spoke at the ceremony on behalf of COMNAP and SCAR, and Prof. Burcu Özsoy talked about the scientific activities of Turkey as well as ITU PolReC Research Centre in Antarctica. Mentioning various Turkish scientists who accomplished getting to Antarctica previously, Özsoy stated that they witnessed Turkish flag undulating on Vison Mountain, the highest spot in Antarctica, and that three spots in the region have Turkish names. Özsoy also informed the visitors about Assoc. Prof. Elif Genceli Güner’s discovery of two new minerals in Antarctica without visiting the continent. The discovery by Elif Genceli Güner of ITU Chemical Engineering Department came about as a result of a joint research project with Japan. “In 2006, I went to Antarctica with a Swedish icebreaker to carry out sea ice observations and compare these with satellite data. Establishment of PolRec, which is the first and only centre of Turkey on polar science research, has conferred an institutional identity to the existing body of individual research on Antarctica that has been carried out since 1967,” said Özsoy. 

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Aside from its its ongoing Antarctica studies, ITU PolReC is building new relationships and cooperation with countries that have a research base in Antarctica, which contributes to the international publicity of the Centre. Having achieved a great deal since 2013 through its research activities and Antarctica expedition, ITU PolReC plays a significant role in the recent surge of scholarly interest in Antarctica among Turkish scientists. 

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Prof. David Winston Harris Walton, fellow of British Antarctic Survey.