IASC 25 years - Page 69

had been strongly nationalistic, elitist, the property port pure and open scientific research with public of the privileged. The IPY, with one event, helped funds.19 achieve acceptance of the international nature and basic principles of the IPY were tested, seen to be International Arctic Science Developments Subsequent to IPY-I sound, and have proved to be long-lasting: In the decades following the conclusion of IPY-I, benefits of investigations of the natural world. The 18 several proposals were made to establish an orga“The Earth should be studied as a planet (not as nization to facilitate continued international coop- independent parts); eration and involvement in Arctic investigations. None of these persisted. Then the First World War Observation stations should be selected not for put an end to international cooperation except for geographical position but for the advantages ‘practical’ activities such as weather reporting and they offer for the phenomena to be studied. The magnetism observations. After the war, there was geographical pole has itself no greater signifi- a resurgence of scientific interest and experimen- cance for science than any other point in high tation; but it was not until 1927, when a number of latitude; eminent scientists in Europe and America proposed that, because of the great recent advances in the Coordinated and synchronized observations are fields of meteorology and magnetism and the phys- necessary to provide information on characteris- ics of the Earth, the time was ripe for a multi-dis- tics, changes, and the distinctive nature of natu- ciplinary study of the Polar Regions, which would ral phenomena in space and time; mark the fiftieth anniversary of the IPY. After much discussion, the Second IPY came about. Interrupted series of observations can have only relative value; By the late 1920s international professional scientific societies had come into being; and planning for Results of much greater scientific value can be IPY-II was coordinated by the International Meteo- expected if standardized observations are made rological Organization (IMO) and the International by observers using similar instruments for re- Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG)—both in- cording phenomena at simultaneous periods ternational committees of leading scientists within throughout the year, and who exchange the their subjects of expertise. An ambitious and very results of their observations without discrimi- advanced program was drafted, focusing on new- nation.” ly-discovered phenomena such as atmospheric jet streams, electrical charges (ionization) in the upper The influence of the IPY spread far beyond the Arc- atmosphere, the physics of polar clouds, and the re- tic regions. Academies of Science, Royal Societies, lationship of aurora to sunspot activity. and universities became international in outlook, and international scientific societies and networks quickly came into being. The IPY showed that the greatly reduced the scope of the planned program, quality and worth of scientific observations should but with generous help from private foundations to be determined not by who did it or who was the provide instruments and with much personal sac- patron, but by the accuracy and reliability of the rifice and volunteer work, IPY-II was carried out on data or of the experiment, as openly judged by schedule, through 1932-1933. Forty-four countries others knowledgeable in the subject. So it was took part; twenty-two sent special observation and that the idea of ‘peer review’ was born. There was research parties to high latitudes, while the others also a growing acceptance and expectation that it conducted the required studies at established facil- was a legitimate government responsibility to sup- 68 The world-wide economic depression of 1929-31 ities. An indication of the true international nature 03 Contributions of Former IASC Presidents