POLAR-PALOOZA and Ice Core Science

Polar-Palooza logo

POLAR-PALOOZA, an innovative public education and outreach initiative supported by both NSF and NASA, successfully presented a special “sneak preview” of its national tour: “Stories from a Changing Planet”, on Saturday October 13th at ASTC 2007--the annual conference of the Association of Science-Technology Centers. In a massive space at the Los Angeles Convention Center, the presentation used three screens, HD video and a movie-style projector loaned by Sony to show more than 700 leaders of the informal science education community some of the unique aspects of POLAR-PALOOZA. The public tour premieres in San Diego October 19th, and then continues to Albuquerque, San Francisco, Tampa, Atlanta and Baton Rouge, with 20 more communities to come in 2008.

“Along with leading polar researchers - such as glaciologists Sridhar Anandakrishnan and Charlie Bentley - we’re delighted to be traveling with an authentic part of Earth’s climate history,” said project director Geoff Haines-Stiles. “Courtesy of NICL, Todd Hinkley and Mark Twickler, we’ve got a 20cm piece of the Newall Glacier flying with us from town to town. Getting ready to make the ancient ice part of public presentations meant our production team coming up to speed on the basics of the care and feeding of ice cores, acquiring an insulated shipper, and briefing our science center partners on being sure to have deep freezes ready and waiting!”

Delivering the ice core during the public presentations is going to be given a certain theatricality by enlisting local celebrities to carry the core onstage to deliver it to researchers, like Bentley and Anandakrishnan, who will explain what has been learned from deep ice cores like GISP2.

Along with the public presentations, POLAR-PALOOZA also features a growing library of video podcasts, which can be accessed at: http://passporttoknowledge.com/polar-palooza/pp06.php

Two recently added videos (which can be downloaded in QT, .wmv and .MP4 formats for iPods and MP3 players) also feature ICDS drillers, and show how researchers Mary Albert and Jeff Severinghaus rely on ice cores for their studies. Shot on location at Summit, Greenland, the videos - ICE DRILLERS ARE HARD CORE and READING ICE CORES - are meant to show the research process as well as the core (sic) science.

“We’ve just learned that NSF will also support ‘iPPZA’ - International POLAR-PALOOZA - so we hope to take the core on the road to China, South Africa, Australia and Norway in 2009” says Haines-Stiles. “And next month, November 2007, we will be sending one of our videographers off on the first weeks of Mary Albert’s US-Norwegian traverse from Troll Station to South Pole. If all goes well, the same cameraman will capture scenes at Amundsen-Scott South Pole station in January 2008 as the traverse party and their ice cores from the heart of East Antarctica reach the end of their journey. So, as you can see, ice cores appear in all our various efforts and we really appreciate the support of researchers, NICL staff and especially Mark Twickler, as we try to increase the public understanding of Earth’s past climate - and what the future may bring.”

POLAR-PALOOZA is made possible by support from the National Science Foundation and NASA’s Science Mission Directorate and is an official International Polar Year activity. POLAR-PALOOZA is produced by PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE, which is solely responsible for its content.


Editor’s Note:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) news release regarding the Polar-Palooza “Stories from a Changing Planet” traveling museum can be viewed at:

The NSF and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) are funding Polar-Palooza as part of the International Polar Year (IPY), which began in March 2007 and ends in March 2009.

The tour will stop in cities across the country in 2007 and 2008.

Upcoming 2007 tour dates include:

Nov. 8-10:
Tampa, Fla. - Museum of Science and Industry

Nov. 11-13:
Atlanta - Fernbank Science Center

Nov. 15-17:
Baton Rouge - Louisiana State University Museum of Natural Science

The “Stories from a Changing Planet” tour will continue in 2008, with events planned in Chicago, St. Louis, Denver, Philadelphia, New York, Houston and several other cities.

For more information about Polar-Palooza and links to the 2007 tour schedule, visit:

International POLAR-PALOOZA - Emphasizing the “I” in IPY & Enabling Global Conversations on the Antarctic Treaty
NSF-OPP Award Number 0732879
Principal Investigator: Geoffrey Haines-Stiles, Geoff Haines-Stiles Productions

NSF-OPP Award Number 0632262
Principal Investigator: Geoffrey Haines-Stiles, Geoff Haines-Stiles Productions