WASHINGTON (Feb. 7, 2004)–Six young, visionary trailblazers — including a futurist, a space architect, a severe storms researcher and a high-altitude archaeologist — have been named to the 2005 class of National Geographic Emerging Explorers.
National Geographic’s Emerging Explorers Program recognizes and supports uniquely gifted and inspiring adventurers, scientists, photographers and storytellers who are making a significant contribution to world knowledge through exploration while still early in their careers. The Emerging Explorers each receive an award of $10,000 to assist with their research and to aid further exploration. The program is supported by Microsoft.
Emerging Explorers for 2005 are space architect Constance Adams, of Houston; anthropologist/archaeologist Constanza Ceruti, of Salta, Argentina; herpetologist Jenny Daltry, of Cambridge, England; writer/adventurer Kira Salak, of Columbia, Mo.; severe storms researcher Tim Samaras, of Lakewood, Colo.; and futurist Andrew Zolli, of Brooklyn, N.Y.
National Geographic Emerging Explorers may be selected from virtually any field, from the Society’s traditional arenas of anthropology, archaeology, photography, space exploration, sociology, earth sciences, geology, mountaineering, cartography, education and history to the worlds of art, music and filmmaking.
“A key mission of National Geographic over the past 117 years has been to support and chronicle achievements of explorers and to sponsor their scientific expeditions. The Emerging Explorers program identifies and honors outstanding adventurers who are setting out on promising careers. They represent tomorrow’s Edmund Hillarys, Jacques Cousteaus and Dian Fosseys,” said Terry Garcia, National Geographic’s executive vice president for Mission Programs.
Microsoft’s support of the Emerging Explorers program includes a series of profiles in National Geographic magazine and a Web feature at nationalgeographic.com/emerging, with multimedia profiles of the explorers and their activities. Web visitors also will be able to download wallpaper, link to maps related the explorers’ travels and download video clips. An online essay competition on the topic “We See Potential” will be held from March 15 to May 30, 2005. The winner will get to spend time in the field with an Emerging Explorer. In addition, National Geographic Channel is airing a vignette about each explorer.
Constance Adams: Adams is a specialist in the field of high-performance architecture and design innovation, particularly in the emerging field of architecture for human spaceflight. She has designed a crew-return vehicle, two Mars-surface habitats, a transit spacecraft for planetary exploration and a next-generation space shuttle and has won several NASA awards for her innovative technologies. She recently pioneered a program to transfer bioregenerative, sustainable water treatment systems developed by the American and European space agencies for human space exploration to the United Nations Development Program in support of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. She is currently a senior technologist at Futron in Houston. Born in Boston, Adams, 40, studied sociology at Harvard University and received a master’s degree in architecture from Yale.
Constanza Ceruti: The only female high-altitude archaeologist in the world, Ceruti studies Inca ceremonial centers on the summits of Andean mountains. Born in Buenos Aires in 1973, she graduated as an anthropologist from the University of Buenos Aires in 1996 and earned her Ph.D. at the University of Cuyo in 2001. She is a professor at Catholic University of Salta in northwest Argentina and an honorary director of the university’s Institute of High Mountain Research. She is a postdoctoral grantee of the National Council of Scientific Research in Argentina (CONICET). Ceruti has climbed more than 100 mountains above 16,500 feet for her archaeological research and has written 30 publications, including five books. She was deputy project director on four of high-altitude archaeologist Johan Reinhard’s expeditions, including one in 1999 to the summit of Llullaillaco volcano, where three of the best-preserved Inca mummies were discovered.
Jenny Daltry: A herpetologist, Daltry, 35, is currently surveying and studying Siamese crocodiles in unexplored rivers in the Cardamom Mountains of southwest Cambodia. The project is part of a program with the Cambodian government to save the endangered species, which is among the rarest and least known of the world’s crocodilians. Almost all of the 200 to 300 Siamese crocodiles that survive in the wild are in the Cardamom Mountains, an area closed to the outside world until 1999. Daltry’s team has walked hundreds of miles across Cambodia in search of these crocodiles, establishing sanctuaries, deploying rangers and forming agreements with local indigenous communities who worship the animals. Her Ph.D. studies at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, were on Malayan pit vipers.
Kira Salak: Born in Westmont, Ill., in 1971, Salak has traveled solo to almost every continent, visiting the world’s most remote places, including Madagascar, Mozambique, Bangladesh, Papua New Guinea and Borneo. She was the first person to kayak solo 600 miles down West Africa’s Niger River, from Old Segou to Timbuktu in Mali. She was also the first woman to cross Papua New Guinea, following the route taken by British explorer Ivan Champion in 1927. In 2003 she completed a 700-mile cycling trip across Alaska to the Arctic Ocean. Book Magazine has called her “the gutsiest — and some say, craziest — woman adventurer of our day.” Salak holds a Ph.D. in English literature and creative writing from the University of Missouri in Columbia.
Tim Samaras: Research engineer and professional storm chaser, Samaras, 47, spends May and June each year speeding around Tornado Alley — a broad swath of land in the central United States between the Rockies and the Mississippi where tornadoes are most frequent — in a vehicle outfitted with GPS, radios, scanners, monitors, a wireless Internet connection and satellite tracking instruments. His interest is to directly measure the dynamics of tornadoes by placing special instrumented probes, which he has designed and built, directly in their paths. Data collected so far have provided a first-ever look at the inside of a tornado at the lowest part of the twister where the most damage is done. He holds two patents, and his innovative techniques have been applied to other areas of science.
Andrew Zolli: Zolli, 34, is a futures forecaster who analyzes how critical trends at the intersection of science and technology, demographics, global society and industry will shape the next century. Zolli runs Z + Partners, a think-tank that specializes in helping people and institutions see, understand and respond to complex change. He has served as the Futurist-in-Residence at Popular Science and American Demographics magazines and Public Radio’s “Marketplace.” He is also curator of the annual PopTech conference, an elite annual gathering that explores the social impact of technology and the shape of things to come. He was the editor of “The Catalog of Tomorrow.” Zolli holds degrees in computer and cognitive science from Vassar College and studied futures research at the University of Houston.
Emerging Explorers is the second National Geographic program that honors and supports outstanding explorers in their fields. The National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence Program was established in 2000 to highlight and enhance the Society’s longstanding relationships with some of the world’s preeminent explorers and scientists. Current National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence are oceanographer Robert Ballard, anthropologist Wade Davis, marine biologist Sylvia Earle, Egyptologist Zahi Hawass, paleontologists Meave and Louise Leakey, high-altitude archaeologist Johan Reinhard and paleontologist Paul Sereno.
Founded in 1888, the National Geographic Society is one of the largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations in the world. It reaches more than 280 million people worldwide each month through its official journal, National Geographic, and its four other magazines; the National Geographic Channel; television documentaries; radio programs; films; books; videos and DVDs; maps; and interactive media. National Geographic has funded nearly 8,000 scientific research projects and supports an education program combating geographic illiteracy. For more information, log on to nationalgeographic.com.