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NDSU Researchers Appear in World Channel Documentary

Fargo, N.D. –– The film ‘Ice People,” which features NDSU researchers, was selected by ITVS to be part of “Global Voices,” a critically acclaimed international documentary television series that aired Aug. 24, at 10 p.m. EST on the World Channel.

In 2006, Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Anne Aghion spent four months at the U.S. research station McMurdo, and camped out for seven weeks in Antarctica’s Dry Valleys region with Allan Ashworth, emeritus University Distinguished Professor of geology; Adam Lewis, assistant professor of geology; and former NDSU students Kelly Gorz and Andrew Podoll as the researchers studied fossilized vegetation in ancient lakebeds.

"Her intent from the beginning was to make a movie about the people conducting the research – what would cause scientists to work under such severe conditions," Ashworth said. "She had in her mind that we were attracted to Antarctica because of the romance of adventure. We found it difficult to convince her that the lure was less romantic: it was to do with providing answers to scientific questions.

"Science is all about discovery and what Anne was able to capture in 'Ice People' is the thrill of discovery," Ashworth said, noting the film includes the research team finding a fossil leaf.

"Making the film was an enjoyable experience, start to finish,” Lewis said of the project with Aghion and her video crew. “During the filming, it was interesting to see how Anne's take on geology and a natural, physical science was pretty different from ours. She looked at it artistically and wanted to know about our connection with the Antarctic landscape; she had a romantic take on it. But, we kept telling her we were trying to answer a question.”

Lewis said Aghion’s film helps put research into terms the public can easily understand. “Anne's film is beautiful and I love the music she had composed for it, but the real value for me is that anyone who's interested can see science being done,” he said. “It's an exceptionally beautiful piece of work that will introduce people to the every-day job of science as well as our wider motivations.”

NDSU is recognized as one of the top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.

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