Glaciologist

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. After her postdoc at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, she became the host of two series of TV Documentaries: Extreme Earth and Save the Alps. Today Heidi is the Director of Science Communications at International Cryosphere Climate Initiative and works hard to make climate change science more accessible to policy-makers and the general public!

Hello Heidi!

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

I am at home in the french Alps which is rather unusual, COVID has forced me to put my traveling on hold for a few months. It's actually been super nice to be home for more than 5 days in a row.

What is your job?

Well I am a Glaciologist, but I have put research aside to focus 100% on science policy and science communication. Today I work as the Director of Science Communication at ICCI, the International Cryosphere Climate Initiative, and as a consultant in science communication. Besides my main job, I am leading three outreach projects, Glaciers On The Move, The Last Tropical Glaciers and of course Climate Sentinels!

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. 

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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