Published on 15 December 2021
Contrary to what one might think, Frank Pattyn , director of the Glaciology Laboratory in the Faculty of Sciences, became a glaciologist quite by accident. “I wasn't even interested at all!" He began by studying physical geography and climatology at the VUB. When choosing a subject for a dissertation, his promoter "strongly insisted" that he opt for a theme linked to glaciology, which Frank did. "It never let go of me again." He then designed a model of glacial development.
In 1990, Frank joined a Japanese mission and set sail for the first time to Antarctica. The goal? Validate the data used in his models. He remembers: "We were gradually entering another world. We went through storms, sea ice, pack ice. We saw the first icebergs, penguins. For me, the hardest part was setting foot on Antarctica, after three weeks of engine noise. I suddenly found myself in an immaculate silence. Indescribable. Overwhelming. Everywhere I looked, everything was white".