Antarctica is the coldest, driest, and most
desolate continent on the surface of the Earth. However, these
extreme conditions also make the high Antarctic plateau one
of the best observing sites for certain types of Astronomy.
In this presentation, the speaker will describe his experiences
during three trips to the icy continent, including a whole
year spent wintering-over with a radio telescope at the Amundsen-Scott
South Pole station.
A native of London, England, Simon Balm received his
Batchelor of Science degree in Chemistry from the University
of Durham in 1988 and his Ph.D. in Chemical Physics
from the University of Sussex in 1992, working with
Nobel Prize winning chemist Sir Harry Kroto. After graduate
school he spent two years as a NATO Postdoctoral Fellow
in the UCLA astronomy Department followed by four years
as a Postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian
Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, MA where he helped
to design, build and install a radio telescope at the
geographical South Pole. He wintered-over with the telescope
at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole station during the
1996 austral winter. After spending several years teaching
as an Adjunct Professor at UCLA he joined Santa Monica
College as a full time faculty member in 2000 where
he is an Associate Professor of Astronomy.