Edinburgh Antarctic researcher has his own stamp

The 75p Antarctic stamps featuring Damon Davis, below. Pic HEMEDIA
The 75p Antarctic stamps featuring Damon Davis, below. Pic HEMEDIA
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A CITY researcher has joined the ranks of some of the world’s most famous writers, scientists and pioneers – by being immortalised on a stamp.

Damon Davies, a postgraduate student studying geosciences at the University of Edinburgh, features in one of four new British Antarctic Territory stamps.

Postgrad Damon Davies works in extreme conditions. Picture: comp

Postgrad Damon Davies works in extreme conditions. Picture: comp

The chilly images – taken during a three-month research trip last year – depict an ongoing £7.4 million international science project seeking to understand why glaciers in West Antarctica are losing ice faster than others.

The so-called ice sheet stability programme, or “iSTAR”, is crucial in predicting future sea levels and the effect on the ocean of environmental change.

The 28-year-old student, from London, has been part of a team of 12 investigators using ice radars to examine the seabed – normally concealed beneath one mile of solid ice - to better understand the movement of glaciers. Hefty radar equipment – which Mr Davies’ is pictured using on the 75p stamp – was lugged more than 1240 miles through conditions reaching -20C to allow the team to capture images of the hidden landscape below their feet.

Mr Davies, who is on another three-month expedition to the Antarctic, said he was “thrilled” to be featured on the stamp. He added: “Being part of the iSTAR programme has been an exciting and rewarding experience, and it’s great that the efforts of everyone involved in this important research are being commemorated.”

Antarctica boasts some of the most extreme conditions on Earth and has a population as low as 40 people over the winter months – more than half of them on-site scientists.

Project leader Dr Robert Bingham insisted his team’s research - carried out in collaboration with ten other universities and the British Antarctic Survey - was crucial in finding out why ice caps are melting.

He said: “Here in Edinburgh we are delighted that one of our team is represented on this special set of stamps. Only by venturing into deepest Antarctica can we understand the processes that are causing polar ice to diminish.

“The conditions in Antarctica are challenging. For one thing, of course, it’s quite cold. It’s generally about -10C, but you are exposed to the elements as it’s basically like being out in the middle of a frozen ocean.”

The special commemorative stamps will be on sale at British research stations in Antarctica and the Falkland Islands.

alistair.grant@edinburghnews.com