On the 5th of November at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California, distinguished AGS councilor Dr. Lawson Brigham was awarded the Polar Medal and Honorary Member Award by the American Polar Society.Dr. Brigham was recognized for his voyages as captain of the Coast Guard icebreaker Polar Sea which sailed from the southernmost Antarctic limit in the Southern Ocean to the North Pole in seven months during 1994, making it the first vessel in history to reach the extremes of the global ocean (this important achievement also earned his signature on the AGS Fliers and Explorers Globe). In addition to this geographic and exploration achievement, he was honored for his work in the Arctic Council as chair of the Council’s Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment, and in the International Maritime Organization for efforts developing the Polar Code for the protection of Arctic people and the marine environment.
The American Polar Society has given out a number of important awards since its inception in 1935 by August Howard. Since the late 1930s the APS has honored approximately 50 individuals (U.S. and foreign) with its Polar Medal for contributions to polar science and exploration. In addition to Dr. Brigham himself, there are other honorees will be familiar to AGS as also signers of the Fliers and Explorers Globe:
–Richard Byrd (1936 awarded the APS Polar Medal & APS Honorary Membership)
–Vilhjalmur Stefansson (1940)
–Lincoln Ellsworth (1944)
–Finn Ronne (1960)
–Laurence Gould (1969)
–William Anderson (1987 – USS Nautilus submarine captain).
Dr. Brigham is a member of the AGS Council, Vice President of the American Polar Society, Distinguished Professor of Geography & Arctic Policy at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Senior Fellow at the Institute of the North, and Fellow at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s Center for Arctic Study and Policy. He has made important contributions to polar geography and policy over the years through his research and explorations. He hold a Ph.D from the University of Cambridge.
The American Geographical Society congratulates Dr. Brigham on this esteemed award and his continued contributions to the field of geography.