Image of Left, Professor Julian Dowdeswell and, right, Dowdeswell Bay
Left, Professor Julian Dowdeswell and, right, Dowdeswell Bay

Bay in Antarctica named after Jesus College Fellow

A Jesus College Fellow has said he was “absolutely thrilled” to have the rare honour of a bay in Antarctica being named after him.

Dowdeswell Bay was recently named after glaciologist Julian Dowdeswell, Professor of Physical Geography in Cambridge, a former Director of the Scott Polar Research Institute, and Brian Buckley Fellow in Polar Science at Jesus.

The bay is about 8.5 km wide and 8 km long, at the southern end of Lallemand Fjord on the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula. It is likely to grow in size over the coming decades due to warming in this part of Antarctica.

Professor Dowdeswell was nominated shortly after he retired from the directorship of the Scott Polar Research Institute earlier this year by the UK Committee for Antarctic Place Names, which has responsibility for naming features in the British Antarctic Territory for scientific and navigational purposes. Julian joins a distinguished and select set of scientists and explorers to be celebrated in this way.

The committee recognised Prof Dowdeswell’s outstanding contributions to furthering the understanding, protection and management of Antarctica through the study of the form and flow of glaciers and ice sheets and their response to climate change, as well as the links between former ice sheets and the marine-geological record.

Prof Dowdeswell has represented the UK on the councils of both the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) and the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) and is also a past Chair of the UK National Committee on Antarctic Research. Julian has received a number of awards for his scientific work including: the Polar Medal (1994) from HM The Queen for “outstanding contributions to glacier geophysics”; the Founder’s Gold Medal of the Royal Geographical Society (2008); and the Lyell Medal from the Geological Society of London (2018).

Unfortunately, Prof Dowdeswell will not be visiting the bay anytime soon as he describes it as “a pretty difficult place to get to, obstructed by sea ice for many months of the year.”

He added: “I was absolutely thrilled - to have your name on the map is a particular privilege.”