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Ingénieur Polytechnicien student discovers the Arctic

Arthur Chen, a second year Ingénieur Polytechnicien student, will participate from July, 19 to August, 19 in a five week expedition in the Arctic. Organized by the association Science Ouverte, it will be an opportunity to carry out scientific missions on behalf of several laboratories.

His name is Arthur Chen, he is 19, and he is about to leave on a scientific mission to Greenland. 1300 km from the North Pole and 150 km from the last Inuit village on the planet, this second year Ingénieur Polytechnicien student will experiment with four companions - three students and Jacques Moreau, a former researcher in biology accustomed to this kind expeditions, the conditions of a journey to the Arctic borders. In the program: a few degrees temperature,  continuous daylight, wild environment, and total isolation.

A scientific mission

On July, 19, the team will leave Paris and go first to Copenhagen, in order to reach, five stops later, the Inuit village of Qaanaaq situated in northwest Greenland. However, this is only a first step that will last few days, since then the team will reach the Inglefield Land in order to spend three weeks punctuated by days of walking and time for scientific experiments. "We have established six base camps where we will stay each time a few days to complete various surveys," said Arthur Chen.

During their journey, the four apprentices-researchers will carry out scientific missions for laboratories. Arthur will work with researchers on the comparison between satellite data and data collected on the ground, as the nature of the vegetation, uneven ground, or even the size of stones present on the ground. In parallel, the explorers will have to collect bivalves and aquatic molluscs in order to measure the impact of the climate change on the development of these organizations on behalf of the laboratory of the Museum of Natural History, or to collect spiders’ samples for a research unit of the University of Rennes.

For Arthur, this experience is an opportunity to step into the shoes of a "mini- researcher working on the ground" and to overcome physical and human challenge, but also to take time to reflect on his professional plans. Without any doubt and in any case, his experience in the scientific and military fields will help him to face the challenges that lie ahead.

Science Ouverte Association

This project is supported by Science Ouverte Association, which promotes access to science and scientific studies among young people in sensitive neighbourhoods and whose president, François Gaudel, is an alumnus of École Polytechnique, X 1966. June 15, 2016, a group of young members of the association, came to the École Polytechnique in order to visit the campus and meet students and faculty of  l’X. "The association is a success story in terms of diversity. The idea of this day was to show these young people, talented in science, the environment in which they can continue their studies, either at l’X or in another engineering school," said Jean-Bernard Lartigue, CEO of The École Polytechnique Foundation. The links between l’X and the association also result in a strong commitment, each year, several students choose Science Ouverte for their personal development and military training.