Stu­dent to fol­low path of great ex­plorer

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS -

Vic­to­ria Univer­sity PhD stu­dent Ben Hines last week set out on a jour­ney that few peo­ple have made.

The 24-year-old ge­ol­ogy stu­dent is one of a small group cho­sen to join a sci­en­tific ex­plo­ration of the lit­tle­trav­elled sub-Antarc­tic re­gion.

Mr Hines is tak­ing part in The Spirit of Maw­son: The Australasian Antarc­tic Ex­pe­di­tion 2013- 2014, which marks the cen­te­nary of an ex­pe­di­tion of the same name led by the Aus­tralian sci­en­tist and ex­plorer Sir Dou­glas Maw­son.

The 2013 ex­pe­di­tion will build upon the ob­ser­va­tions made dur­ing the orig­i­nal jour­ney 100 years ago to try to bet­ter un­der­stand present and fu­ture change in Antarc­tica and the South­ern Ocean.

The voy­age is split into two legs – the first to Auck­land and Camp­bell is­lands in the sub-Antarc­tic re­gion, and the sec­ond to Com­mon­wealth Bay in Antarc­tica.

Mr Hines is on the first leg, which fin­ishes on De­cem­ber 7.

The Univer­sity of New South Wales has or­gan­ised the cen­te­nary ex­pe­di­tion and made four places avail­able to post­grad­u­ate stu­dents from around the world.

Mr Hines, who com­pleted his bach­e­lor and mas­ters de­grees in ge­ol­ogy at Vic­to­ria, said he jumped at the chance to be one of them.

‘‘ I’ve al­ways been in­ter­ested in Antarc­tica,’’ he said.

‘‘To be con­sid­ered, we had to make a two-minute YouTube video.

‘‘I didn’t want to just talk to the cam­era, so for a month I took the cam­era along on my ge­ol­ogy field trips.

‘‘I en­listed a friend or col­league to film me teach­ing, div­ing, clam­ber­ing over moun­tains, and smash­ing rocks, all in the name of sci­ence.’’

He was cho­sen from a field of 68 ap­pli­cants.

Sci­en­tists and stu­dents on the ex­pe­di­tion will com­plete sur­veys of wildlife, plantlife and ge­o­log­i­cal fea­tures, plus me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal and oceano­graphic in­for­ma­tion, to pro­vide the first com­plete snap­shot of the re­gion in 100 years.

Their data will pro­vide a base for fur­ther re­search into is­sues like how the world’s cli­mate is chang­ing.

‘‘The chance to work with sci­en­tists from a range of dis­ci­plines is fan­tas­tic. I feel in­cred­i­bly lucky to get to visit part of the world few peo­ple have been,’’ Mr Hines said.

Ac­tion man: Ben Hines com­bines study with the cu­rios­ity of an ex­plorer.

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