Alton Wade

Professor’s Antartic Expedition Featured in Museum

‘Antartica – Pioneering American Explorations of the Frozen Continent’ runs Jan. 30 – Dec. 20.

Battling roaring winds, freezing temperatures and deep crevasses, the young lead geologist for the Eastern Sledge Party joined the Second Byrd Expedition to Antarctica in 1933. While there, he endured a 77-day sled journey into the unknown of Marie Byrd Land, the western portion of the continent lying east of the Ross Ice Shelf and Ross Sea.

That was the beginning of a love affair with Antarctica for F. Alton Wade, a Horn Professor, former chairman of the Department of Geosciences at Texas Tech University and a research associate at the Museum of Texas Tech University.

Starting at Texas Tech in 1954, he led six Texas Tech Antarctic expeditions. His adventures are detailed in “Antarctica – Pioneering American Explorations of the Frozen Continent,” a new exhibit running Jan. 30 – Dec. 20 at the Museum of Texas Tech University.

“In 1939, Wade returned to the icy frontier as senior scientist for the United States Antarctic Service to plan and manage the expedition’s scientific program as well as command the cutting-edge Snow Cruiser, which was a mobile research lab equipped with an airplane on its roof,” said exhibits manager Andy Gedeon. “In 1971, he created the Antarctic Research Center at the Museum of Texas Tech University to further advance the discoveries of the Texas Tech expeditions. Wade was one of the first groups of professors to be awarded a Horn Professorship, which is the highest honor bestowed upon a faculty member. His fascinating research and his rank as a Horn Professor are why we are detailing his work in this year’s featured Horn Professor exhibition.”