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CosmoCaixa devotes a programme to analysing the importance of the research in Antarctica for the advancement of scientific knowledge

Madrid, 16 October 2003

Antarctica has been and continues to be a magnificent scenario for fulfilling man’s yearning for exploration and scientific advancement. This is enhanced by its extraordinary natural conditions, its remoteness and isolation, and the existence of an internationally adopted administrative system, which puts special emphasis on environmental protection and scientific research. The origin of the Earth, the adaptation of life to extreme conditions, microbial biodiversity and the hole in the ozone layer are undoubtedly subjects in which Antarctic research plays an important role. CosmoCaixa, the science museum of ”la Caixa” Foundation in Alcobendas, officially opens the lecture programme Antarctica: The Last Frontier on Thursday 16 October. It is coordinated by Jerónimo López, Vice-President of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR).

Meteorites in Antarctica, the opening lecture in the programme, will be given by the planetologist Francisco Anguita. Some 20,000 of the 23,000 meteorites housed by our museums come from the frozen continent. This accumulation is not caused by a special attraction of asteroid fragments to Antarctica, but rather, among other things, by the fact that ice acts as a natural refrigerator for the rocks, which, owing to the absence of liquid water, are scarcely altered, remaining intact for a lengthy period of time. Analysing them gives us one of the most advantageous perspectives for discovering the processes which have taken place in the Universe over the last millions of years.

Dr Francisco Anguita is a professor in Planetology at the Complutense University of Madrid. He also coordinates a Planetary Sciences seminar and has participated in expeditions for the recovery of meteorites in Antarctica. At present, he is carrying out research on hydraulics, sedimentology and tectonics on Mars, and on the relation between tectonics and vulcanism on Venus. He has published the book Historia de Marte (History of Mars), among others.

Lecture programme: Antarctica: The Last Frontier
CosmoCaixa. From 16 October to 11 November 2003, at 7:30 PM

16 October 2003, 7:30 PM
Meteorites in Antarctica: Messages from the Asteroid Belt
Francisco Anguita. Complutense University of Madrid

21 October 2003, 7:30 PM
Penguins in Antarctica: The Struggle for Survival
Juan Moreno. National Museum of Natural Sciences (CSIC)

28 October 2003, 7:30 PM
The Oasis of Life in the Polar Areas: Rivers and Lakes
Antonio Quesada. Autonomous University of Madrid

11 November 2003, 7:30 PM
Antarctica and the Hole in the Ozone Layer
Margarita Yela. National Institute of Aerospacial Technique (INTA)

Lecture programme: Antarctica: The Last Frontier
Coordinator: Jerónimo López. Vice-President of SCAR
Dates and time: From 16 October to 11 November 2003, 7:30 PM
Location: CosmoCaixa. Pintor Velázquez s/n. 28100 Alcobendas. Madrid
Information telephone number: 91 484 52 00
Admission free of charge.


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