From: Reuters
Published January 21, 2009 08:50 AM

Antarctica scientists hail President Obama

ROTHERA BASE, Antarctica (Reuters) - U.S. geologists working at an Antarctic base hailed President Barack Obama's inauguration Tuesday and expressed hopes for a stronger focus on science.

"It's a very exciting time," David Barbeau, assistant professor of geology at the University of South Carolina, told Reuters after watching the inauguration at the British Rothera research station on the Antarctic Peninsula.

"There certainly is a feeling that this administration will have science pretty close to the forefront," he said in the base, by a bay strewn with icebergs with several seals sunning themselves on the ice.

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And he said he felt inspired by Obama's commitment to doubling the basic research funding over the next 10 years.

"It's certainly very hopeful to have someone coming into office ... who is excited about science and supportive of it," said Amanda Savrda, a graduate student in geology at the University of South Carolina working with Barbeau.

"It seems to bode well for my future and the future of a lot of people in science," she said. Barbeau and Savrda are trying to work out exactly when the ocean formed between Antarctica and South America millions of years ago.

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