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AAAS Member Charles Swithinbank Dies at 87

AAAS member Charles Swithinbank, a glaciologist and polar specialist, died May 27, he was 87 years-old. Swithinbank's achievements at the poles spanned six decades and earned him the distinct honor of "having seen more of Antarctica than any living person," according to The American Polar Society's website.

His polar career started in 1949, when he became a member of the Norwegian-British-Swedish Antarctic Expedition at the Polar Research Institute. He "went on to serve successively on Canadian, American, Soviet, British and Chilean expeditions in the polar regions," according to his obituary in The Telegraph.

Swithinbank's was the author of An Alien in Antarctica, Reflections upon Forty Years of Exploration and Research on the Frozen Continent (1997); Forty Years on Ice, A lifetime of Exploration and Research in the Polar Regions (1998); Foothold on Antarctica, The First International Expedition (1949-1952) (1999); and Vodka on Ice, A Year with the Russians in Antarctica (2002). A photograph library at the Scott Polar Research Institute contains thousands of transparencies of Arctic and Antarctic subjects taken by Swithinbank which are available for reproduction here.

Swithinbank's awards included the Patron's Medal of the Royal Geographical Society and the Vega Medal of the Royal Swedish Geographical Society. He is commemorated by six place names in various sectors of the Antarctic.