Heidi is a glaciologist, who obtained her PhD from the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) and University of Oslo. Born in the French Alps, she studied physical geography at Lyon 3, and then at UNIS, the northernmost university on earth. She was awarded her MSc in Glaciology from the Welch university of Aberystwyth. In 2011 Heidi started her PhD on surging glaciers back at UNIS in Svalbard, and her work made the cover of Science Magazine in December 2017. Beside Svalbard, Heidi has done fieldwork in the Himalayas, Greenland, and the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica. She has worked as a research fellow at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, and regularly collaborates with the American NGO the International Cryosphere Climate Initiative in science policy and science communication. Heidi is also the host of the new series of science documentaries “Extreme Earth” for French TV France 5.

Hello Heidi!

Where are you right now and where are you originally from?

I am back at home in the French Alps after travelling in South America for 3 weeks.

What is your job?

Well I am a Glaciologist, but I have put research aside to focus 100% on science policy and science communication. I am kind of a freelancer of science communication these days, giving lectures in different places and working for french TV, hosting the series of science documentaries called “Terres Extremes” (Extreme Earth). I feel super lucky to get the chance to share my passion with so many new people every day, and to travel along the way.

Can you describe yourself in 3 words?

Passionate, determined and positive.

What does “Climate Sentinels” mean for you?

It means everything to me! This is a passion project we’ve been working on for so long already. This is the way we’re hoping to inspire and empower.

What are you hoping to achieve with this project?

I see Climate Sentinels as the way to break the mold of classic polar research expeditions. We took everything we liked about being field scientists, and changed everything that we think needs changing. To be the biggest goals (not in the right order) are to connect the general public - especially young generations - with science and the polar regions, to collect great samples in a safe manner, and prove that research expeditions can be carbon-neutral.

Is there anything that scares/worries you about the expedition?

Of course! But I find it quite healthy to approach this expedition with a moderate dose of apprehension. Many things can go wrong when we do fieldwork in the polar regions, but I fully trust the experience of the team, and together I am sure we’ll be able to take the right decisions, and be as safe as possible in the field. 

7.What are you most excited about with this project?

What I always love when we go fieldwork in challenging places is the camaraderie. I really look forward to spending time in the field with these amazing scientists that I am lucky to call friends! I bet we’ll have quite a few stories to tell after the expedition. I also very much look forward to sharing our passion with schools and students! This is what I love the most about being a scientist.

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