Student to follow path of great explorer
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.