Sunday, March 04, 2007

Day 217: About a Gazillion

With the events of these recent days, I've got about a bajillion photos to go through. So first, we begin with the UNIS events for the opening of IPY on Thursday.

The professor I work for, Jorgen Berge, gave the first talk of the day, partially due to the fact that about 2 hours later he and half the people I work with took a helicopter to Rijpfjorden for a few weeks of field work.

We also had talks by Gunnar Sand, the director of Unis:

And Per Sefland, the governor of Svalbard (or Sysselmannen). This guy is basically the highest power on Svalbard. He runs everything, and he's who we call when someone needs rescuing.

And then there were lots of other talks about IPY and different projects, especially focusing on how IPY is organized internationally. Part of the deal is opening certain Arctic "gateways", centers of information and access for both the general public and researchers.

Around noon, we all went outside to join a huge community gathering for the public opening ceremony, which including the unveiling of some ice sculptures the local schoolkids had built. There were about a million kids around.

The people with the Norwegain Polar Institute had built a tent outside as well.

We hung around and watched the ceremony go on...

The unveiling:

Someone gives a speech:

Pretty much all of this was in Norwegian, so I was mostly focused on taking photos rather than understanding what was going on. It was quite interesting to see so many townspeople and kids congregating for this event. Speaking of which, here's a ton of photos of those people.

I love this kid:

An Arctic wheelchair:

The whole ice sculpture thing was assisted by a local artist, Olaf Storø.

From what I gather, he helped plan the construction, and the local kids actually built them.

After the ceremony, Norwegian Polar Institute people made hot chocolate from inside their tent.

It was pretty cold out, but this little stove made the tent super warm:

Some UNIS students helped pass the drinks around:

And now, a lot more photos of kids and their hot chocolates:

A pretty awesome beard:

So that was the IPY opening!

The other night we had a huge lunar halo:

Very cool. Here is a random photo from the lab where I work, during some bad weather:

And finally - every once in awhile I take a photo that I immediately love and goes into my personal collection of favorite photos. I managed to take one at the IPY opening, and here it is:

1 comment:

Hans Mundahl said...

I loved these pictures! I was particularly struck by the highly reflective clothes the kids have, like it's dark here all the time, so I want to make sure my child doesn't get hit by the random skidoo, snow-cat, polarbear, whatever.

So many of your pictures all winter have been empty of people out doors, suddenly such life!