Metabolic Studio Public Salon
Simon Balm
Friday, February 5, 2010, Noon
Free Admission

A Year at the South Pole

Simon Balm will describe his experiences during a year spent at the South Pole conducting astronomical research in one of the coldest and extreme environments on Earth.

A native of London, England, Simon Balm received his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from the University of Durham in 1988 and his Ph.D. in Chemical Physics from the University of Sussex in 1992, working with Nobel Prize winning chemist Sir Harold Kroto. After graduate school he spent two years as a NATO Postdoctoral Fellow in the UCLA Astronomy Department followed by four years as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, MA where he helped to design, build and install a radio telescope at the geographical South Pole. After several Summer visits to the Antarctic he wintered-over with the telescope at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole station during the 1995-1996 season as a scientist with United States Antarctic Program.

Following his work in the Antarctic he spent several years teaching Astronomy as an Adjunct Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles and then joined Santa Monica College as a full time faculty member in the Fall of 2000 where he is currently a Professor of Astronomy and Chemistry in the Department of Earth Sciences. In December of 2006 he traveled to the Antarctic again with renowned Santa Monica artist Lita Albuquerque as the science advisor on the first large-scale art installation to be placed on the continent.

Image: An aurora over the Amundsen-Scott South Pole station in winter

Courtesy: National Science Foundation



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