Polar Zero climate exhibit to open this month at Glasgow Science Centre ahead of COP26

The new exhibition, Polar Zero, explores the past, present and future of our relationship with the planet and its climate.

What’s happening? Polar Zero is an immersive exhibition from Royal College of Art artist and sculptor Wayne Binitie, created in collaboration with British Antarctic Survey and global engineering and design firm Arup.

When does it open? Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), Polar Zero opens to the public at Glasgow Science Centre on 2 October.

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It will be on display during the UN COP26 Climate Conference, making an innovative cultural contribution to climate science communication, diplomacy and policy.

As visitors move around this exhibition they are invited to take a moment to reflect on what our past means for the present and future climate.

There are three elements to the Polar Zero exhibition:

1765 'Air'

Ice Core

Ice Stories

1765 –Antarctic air – a gift to the future

The centrepiece is an original glass sculpture containing air from the year 1765. Extracted from an Antarctic ice core and preserved forever within the sculpture, this air connects us with a pivotal moment in the Earth’s history, the dawn of the industrial revolution.

Over two hundred and fifty years ago Scottish inventor James Watt improved the steam engine to reduce waste and cut fuel costs. This innovation sparked a chain reaction that changed the world.

Locked deep in Antarctic ice is a unique archive of the Earth’s history reaching back 800,000 years. Tiny bubbles of air that were trapped as snow fell reveal the astonishing rate of increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide since the start of the Industrial Revolution.

Polar Zero is a fusion of art, science and engineering. 1765 is a symbolic gift to the future.

A cylindrical glass sculpture encases an ampule of genuine air from the year 1765. Gases, including carbon dioxide and methane from the pre-industrial revolution era, capture a pivotal moment in the Earth’s history.

Find out more about the exhibition on the Science Centre website.