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Field Notes
Field Notes
photo by David Lipnowski [BA(Hons)/08]

Field Notes

David Barber
Cool stuff belonging to Distinguished Professor David Barber [BPE/82, MNRM/89], Canada Research Chair in Arctic-System Science and associate dean of research in the Clayton H. Riddell Faculty of Environment, Earth, and Resources.

No. 1 A drone used for sea ice surveillance. “A very good friend of mine (U of M researcher Klaus Hochheim [MA/95, PhD/03]) died in a helicopter crash a few years ago doing the same kind of work we can now do with the drone.”

No. 2 A book about ancient Rome. “I like historical fiction; however, this is pure historical fact, with many surprising details.”

No. 3 A toy he bought at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “It’s a reminder that technology can also be fun.”

No. 4 Insulated waterproof gloves. “Crucial gear in every season. Working around cold salt water does a number on your hands, so these gloves and hand lotion are a must.”

No. 5 A satellite phone—a big improvement over the mailed letter, which used to take three months to arrive in each direction. (A helicopter once had to fly in to tell Barber about a death in the family.)

No. 6 One of two pairs of sunglasses he brings since sunburning his corneas while working on the bright ice without eye protection as an “invincible 20-something.” He was snowblind for three days.

No. 7 A tool based on a traditional Inuit design. The picks are to pull himself onto an ice flow if he falls in the water. “The last time I used these was in the early ‘90s in Resolute.”

No. 8 A GPS tracker. “Before, if a storm came and we didn’t know where you were, it could take days for us to find you.”

No. 9 A Buddha from Indonesia. “I like the juxtaposition of sensitivity and strength.”

No. 10 A traditional horn cup to drink a rare bottle of Scotch crafted from the recipe of a batch of Ernest Shackleton’s 1907 expedition. “There’s a synergy between people who adventure to the poles, and a rare Scotch like this has an enduring connection through time.”

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