A delegation of students from Turkey got acquainted with the work of Chilean science in the White Continent

Punta Arenas, February 21, 2023. – For five days, three schoolchildren from Antalya, Turkey traveled to King George Island to learn about work being developed by Chilean scientists at the Professor Julio Escudero Base of the Chilean Antarctic Institute (INACH).

The visit took place in early February, as part of the Seventh Turkish National Antarctic Expedition (TAE VII) carried out by the TÜBİTAK MAM Polar Research Institute (KARE), and stands out as an important example of international cooperation between national programs in Antarctica. Both countries.

Students Azra Ayşe Bıçakcı, Hilal Başak Demirel, and Zeynep İpek Yanmaz from İstek Antalya Lara Science School engaged with researchers located at the INACH base Professor Julio Escudero, with whom they talked about the adaptation of algae and vascular plants, the effect of warming in the Southern Ocean on Antarctic fish larvae and soil study and their factors in areas affected by glacier retreat, among other topics.

They also made educational visits to Collins Glacier and Ardley Island to learn about the scientific work in the field, as well as enjoying the amazing Antarctic landscape, fauna, and flora. In addition to the INACH base, the group visited Artigas from Uruguay, Comandante Ferraz from Brazil, Arctowski from Poland, and Carlini from Argentina bases.

The young women, in turn, explained to the Chilean scientists their project: “Production of Bioplastic Material to Prevent Microplastic Pollution in the Arctic Oceans,” which seeks to be a solution to this enormous problem by manufacturing soluble and resistant bioplastics. of starch. From oak, which is reduced in just 45 days compared to 450 years for conventional plastic made from non-sustainable materials. In addition, the process of obtaining it is ecological, sustainable and profitable and raises awareness about pollution from microplastics, especially in polar environments.

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With this work, they won the national competition for polar research projects of the Teknofest 2022 Aviation, Space and Technology Festival, where they were honored by the President of their country, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “The reward we dreamed of was that we would go to Antarctica with the Turkish Antarctic Expedition,” Hilal Basak Demirel recalls with joy.

She also commented that the experience she had in Antarctica was inspiring and extraordinary: “I had the opportunity to be on the ship, live in the same environment with eminent scientists, learn from their studies, broaden my horizons, and build strong relationships. What affected me the most was him.” Knowing that Antarctica is a continent of peace and is perhaps the only place on Earth where people work together under the roof of the flag, without conflicts of interest and with the most sincere support and solidarity.I have witnessed this in our visits to the various bases but above all in our time with INACH(…)everyone was Sincerely hospitable and attentive and I believe I have enriched my network with wonderful people. I felt it would be a life-changing experience once I set foot on the continent and it turned out to be right, thanks to the wonderful people I met during this extraordinary trip,” describes the young woman as part of the essay What did she write about your visit?

His colleague Zeynep İpek Yanmaz was very grateful for the warm welcome from the people at the Escudero base, and in this regard he said: “It was a wonderful experience to visit Antarctica and observe this mysterious ecosystem up close. We visited the base of Professor Julio Escudero and heard about the projects of the scientists working there. We also had the opportunity to talk to them about our bioplastics project. We are really grateful to INACH for their hospitality.”

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Student Ezra Ayşe Peşakçı agrees with her classmates and appreciates the hospitality of the core staff: “Our trip to Antarctica was beyond my imagination. Thanks to the cooperation and support of the INACH members, I had a dream experience and was able to learn a lot of information about Antarctica. We visited the base Escudero and even stayed there for one night.Unlike the freezing weather in Antarctica, everyone was so warm and friendly that made us feel at home.We visited the laboratories and had the chance to talk to scientists about their studies.They explained their investigations with great pleasure and interest.We also visited an island and a glacier With the scientists from there. It gave us a new perspective.”

The schoolchildren were accompanied on this educational visit by Constanza Jimenez from the Education District of INACH, who gave a positive assessment of what happened, especially in the importance of bringing the scientific and logistical work of Chile closer to the new generations.

“Without a doubt, this expedition shows that Antarctica is a wonderful example of what we call the cooperative spirit. At present, it is not possible to imagine how to advance in science or in obtaining new knowledge without the cooperation of different people and countries. In a very special way, the demonstration The scientific and logistical work involved in the study of Antarctica carried out by Chile for promising young men – such as those participating in the Antarctic School Fair in our country – allows us to see that we are on the right track.By promoting the appreciation of Antarctic science in future generations.Last but not least This kind of cooperation will allow us to expand our borders and venture into new proposals and goals with other scientific programs, in order to take the science of Antarctica and cooperation to a new level through the exhibition.

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Specifically, the Antarctic School Expo (FAE) is a competition organized by INACH that takes the winning students to the White Continent. 2023 celebrates its 20th edition and intends in future editions to be able to expand and link up with science fair winners from other Antarctic Treaty member states.

INACH is a technical body of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with complete autonomy in all Antarctic matters of a scientific, technological and publishing nature. INACH complies with national Antarctic policy by encouraging the development of excellent research, actively participating in the Antarctic Treaty System and related forums, strengthening Magallanes as a gateway to the White Continent and implementing actions to disseminate knowledge of Antarctica among citizens.

Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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