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NSF scientist leads cutting-edge Antarctica research program

Climate Change

NSF scientist leads cutting-edge Antarctica research program
Posted: October 24, 2014

October 21

A large and prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) research program in Antarctica has uncovered important scientific discoveries about climate change, the origins of the universe, previously unknown sea life and two new dinosaur species.

Leading this ambitious effort is Scott Gerald Borg, a scientist who coordinates the direction of and funding for the program’s entire portfolio, which includes tens of millions of dollars in awards each year to researchers at institutions throughout the country who are involved in cutting-edge science.

“Scott’s sustained commitment, forward-thinking leadership and strong vision in the face of numerous obstacles have both invigorated and ensured world preeminence of the U.S. Antarctic science program for over two decades,” said Kelly Falkner, director of NSF’s polar programs division.

Noteworthy scientific achievements fostered under Borg’s stewardship include the development of a clean drilling technology to retrieve the first-ever pure water samples from an Antarctic lake a half mile below the surface of the ice sheet. These samples, which likely have been sealed beneath thousands of feet of ice for up to 15 million years, are helping researchers understand what kinds of life might survive in other worlds.

In addition, scientists working with the NSF recently completed the West Antarctic Ice Sheet drilling project, which required Borg’s leadership to overcome the numerous technical and logistical challenges extract an ice core from a critical location in Antarctica. According to Falkner, this ice core dates back 68,000 years and embodies the highest-resolution record of climate ever recovered. Once analyses are completed, scientists will have a clearer understanding of the timing of major climate changes on the planet and their causes.

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