Main content start

Peder Roberts

I came to Stanford from the University of New South Wales in Sydney Australia, back in 2004. I hope to soon become Robert Proctor's first completed PhD advisee! My dissertation focuses on the way science has became the dominant form of legitimate activity in the Antarctic. In a sense, it's a story about how states came to decide that Antarctic science was something worth supporting rather than about how scientists realized Antarctica was interesting -- though of course, you can never completely separate those two questions. With all the focus today about natural resource exploitation and governance in the polar regions, I feel strongly that historical insights can be useful. Climate change has been used as a justification for international research in the Antarctic since the 1940s -- back when it had positive connotations and was thought to be a natural cycle. And at a time when 'scientific whaling' is widely seen as an oxymoron, it's interesting to recall that for many years it was anything but. My research has taken me to Norway, Sweden, Britain, and Australia, but nothing compares to spring in northern California!