UW News

March 1, 2016

Ice cores, polar bears and whale sounds at 11th Polar Science Weekend

UW News

Investigate a real ice core from Greenland, survey microbes from the coldest parts of the world, explore an Arctic ice camp and meet with polar scientists – many of whom are from the University of Washington.

poster showing helicopter on iceIt’s all part of Polar Science Weekend, returning to Seattle’s Pacific Science Center March 4-6. The three-day event features interactive exhibits and opportunities to talk with top polar scientists who work in some of the most remote and challenging places on Earth.

New this year is “Listening to the Arctic,” where Kate Stafford, an oceanographer with the UW Applied Physics Laboratory who uses sound to study marine mammals, will let visitors eavesdrop underwater and under ice to the sounds of whales and seals in the Arctic Ocean.

Another first-time offering is a presentation by Eric Regehr, a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, who will speak Saturday at 11 a.m. about studying polar bears up close in their natural Arctic environment.

Returning favorites include stations where visitors can tour an Arctic research camp, try on a polar survival suit, investigate a real Greenland ice core and see an ice-smashing demonstration. Younger visitors can fill out a passport with stamps from each station.

The event will also include members of the U.S. Coast Guard and Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.

For the third year, UW undergraduates in Ocean 102, taught by Mikelle Nuwer, will volunteer at the “Salinity Taste Test” that compares seawater from the Atlantic and Arctic oceans. The students will participate beforehand in a science communication workshop run by Pacific Science Center in which they’ll learn about presenting science to the public.

Entrance is included with science center admission. Polar Science Weekend is a partnership between Pacific Science Center and the UW’s Polar Science Center and Applied Physics Laboratory, with support from PEMCO Insurance Company, the College of the Environment’s Future of Ice Initiative and the UW’s Quaternary Research Center.


For more information, contact Katelyn Del Buco at 206-269-5728 or kdelbuco@pacsci.org and UW polar scientist Harry Stern at 206-543-7253 or hstern@uw.edu.