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science 2008-2009: 6: International Polar Year

By Jon Agar, on 26 September 2009

The large-scale organisation of science is old enough to have its established cycles. In International Polar Year took place in 1932-1933, fifty years after the first. The International Geophysical Year of 1957-1958 had been opportunistically shoe-horned in twenty-five years later, claiming space and the Antarctic for science during the Cold War freeze.

In 2007-2007, the third International Polar Year was held: 170 projects, involving more than 60 nations, at a cost of $1.2 billion. In the north, scientists measured melting permafrost. In the south, China established a new Antarctic base.

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