The Antarctic expeditions of old would routinely advertise for applicants to join them in the south. Exciting – and often wonderfully sensational – proclamations would be placed in the broadsheets, appealing to national sense of duty to scientifically explore the newly discovered continent in the Southern Ocean. Posting calls in the press helped team leaders fill key positions in their party while also maintaining a high public profile, crucial for raising much needed funds. Mawson was no exception in this regard. Adverts for the original Australasian Antarctic Expedition included open meetings in state capitals and an appeal by Shackleton in the British newspapers. The public responded enthusiastically to the scale of the expedition: four bases spread out along a near-unknown Antarctic coastline. Here was a venture everyone could get involved in, either directly as a team member or by sponsoring essential supplies and equipment.
Inspired by the efforts of Mawson and his men to communicate their scientific findings to a public hungry to learn more, we recently advertised for 4 PhD positions to join the expedition. Applicants had to send in a two-minute YouTube movie clip to tell us why they wanted to join the expedition and how they would help convey our discoveries to the rest of the world. The response has been overwhelming. The deadline passed on Friday and some 65 applications have been received. We have been blown away by the quality of the films while the range of expertise and nationality is simply fantastic; we have applications from around the world including Australasia, the USA, Chile and Europe, promising a fabulous international mix on board our vessel, the MS Shokalskiy. We’re incredibly excited about helping support a new generation keen to communicate with the world. Co-leader Dr Chris Fogwill and I will be working through the submissions over the next couple of weeks and a shortlist will be drawn up for interview using Google Hangouts in early October.
Thanks to everyone for such great submissions. We’ll be in touch soon.