Meet the Scientists: Dr. Alex Fraser

Dr. Alex Fraser
Dr. Alex Fraser on the helo deck of the R/V Nathaniel B. Palmer in East Antarctica.
Post-doctoral fellow at the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science

What do they do?

Alex’s main research focus is on sea ice and coastal polynyas, which are key areas in driving thermohaline circulation of the ocean.

On this research expedition he will be working with [Dr. Williams] ( on the sea ice observation project using UAVs to survey sea ice and ice formation.

How did they get where they are now?

Alex has always been interested in science. He remembers entering—and winning $50—in a science fair back in the 5th grade. At university he studied computing and earth sciences. During this time a lecturer at his school spoke about Antarctica. Intrigued, Alex made an effort to do an honors project with the professor. Eventually he went on to earn his PhD at the University of Tasmania and then went on his first Antarctic research cruise.

He’s been involved with the sea ice observation project for some time. He even tested out the drones, observing northern sea ice in Japan, when Dr. Williams brought them out on a visit.

Favorite part of the job

Alex’s favorite part of science is when you have an idea that you've been working on for some time and the data you collect finally confirms it. It’s incredibly gratifying. He also loves going out in the field to see Antarctic sea ice in person. Every time he sees the ice it helps him refine and perfect his sea ice models.

Fun Fact

In his spare time on the ship he’s been playing Kerbal Space Program (a computer game that allows you to design and fly space ships).

Advice from Dr. Fraser

In school, do as many different science subjects as you can. It will help you in any field you choose. And learn to program—that will help a lot too.

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