National Academy of Sciences of Belarus


28th of January – 200th Anniversary of Antarctic Continent Discovery

The Antarctic Continent was discovered on the 16 (28) of January 1820 by a Russian expedition under command of Thaddeus von Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev. Previously, existence of the southern continent (Lat. Terra Australis) had been supposed hypothetically, it had been often combined with Southern America and Australia. However, it was the expedition of Bellingshausen and Lazarev in the Antarctic seas that confirmed that the continent existed going round the Antarctic ices. The first man managed to set foot on the Antarctic land 76 years afterwards: Norwegian scientist Carsten Borchgrevink who made the first successful wintering. Borchgrevink, the pioneer in use of dog sleds for movement on the Antarctic ices, was the first to collect samples of geological materials, find lichens and animal species in the ocean.

The Antarctic Continent still attracts attention of the explorers. Currently, the 12th Belarusian Antarctic expedition is undertaken. One of the expedition members is Jury Giginyak, a polar explorer and participant of numerous expeditions, the first Belarusian hydrobiologist who managed to join one of the Antarctic expeditions in the days of the Soviet Union.

Young scientists of NAS of Belarus had a meeting with the polar explorer just before his departure and discussed the challenges the explorers faced at the polar station, the ways to find common ground with penguins and American scientists, the similarity between Belarus and the Antarctic, and the possibility to go to the Antarctic. The video is available on the Science Festival channel where records of popular scientific lectures are also published.