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 Montpelier Magazine



Dispatches from the South Pole


Shayne Clausson ('95) lives, eats and breathes the South Pole. In October 2002, Clausson applied for a position at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station where he and his co-workers study astronomy and atmospheric and environmental sciences. 

Clausson will live at the South Pole station until November 2003. Clausson and his 200 team members (or "polies" as they like to call themselves) have very busy lives because they have to complete a year's worth of work in three months. Once the winter season, which begins in mid-February, hits, the team reduces to 60 people and many projects are put on pause; however, the station has to be up and running to record data.

"In the entire history of man, less than 1,000 people have seen a South Pole winter," Clausson says. "To be one of them, well that is just plain cool! Many people asked me why I would choose to spend a winter in total isolation, in temperatures that average -70F, with no hope of leaving." Clausson explains, "First, I see it as a personal challenge. It would be difficult to find something this physically and mentally demanding anywhere else in the world. Second, I see it as an amazing opportunity that I am truly lucky to have been selected to participate in."                                                                                 

Clausson's role is to ensure that the data systems used in testing are available. Some of the data systems he oversees include the South Pole email infrastructure, the servers that collect and store data collected during experiments and a connection to the four satellites that provide the South Pole with its 15 hours of connectivity with the outside world per day. Bottom line, Clausson keeps the team connected to family, friends and co-workers around the world.

Stayed tuned for Shayne's dispatches from the bottom of the world.


Home at the Pole - Aug 2003


Dark Skies - June 2003


Sunset - April 2003


Brrrrrrr. February 2003


Shayne's Website: