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K2 without O2

Professor Bruce Normand

Leading physicist cum mountaineer and explorer Professor Bruce Normand will visit the University of St Andrews today to share tales from his latest mountaineering adventures.

With a degree from Cambridge and a PhD from MIT, Professor Bruce Normand boasts the publication list of a leading theoretical physicist, and has just taken up a post at Renmin University in China. Physics, however, is only one of his occupations and he is arguably even better known as a mountaineer and explorer. When away from University, Professor Bruce Normand can normally be found putting technical new routes on the world’s lesser-known high mountains, most of which fall within the political borders of China. His best known work has been in the remotest ranges in the world and even today some of his first ascents have involved exploration and survey climbs on peaks never previously seen by western mountaineers.

Professor Bruce Normand

In 2007 Professor Normand climbed K2, the second largest mountain on Earth after Mount Everest, making him the only Scotsman ever to do so. Along with his partners Don Bowie and Chris Warner, they were pushed off its new-route attempt by objective danger and ended up on the normal route. In 2010 he shared the coveted French mountaineering prize, the ‘Piolet d’Or’ for one of these new routes, Xuelian West in the Tien Shan range in China.

Professor Andy Mackenzie, Director of Research for Physics and Astronomy at the University of St Andrews commented, “Bruce is a really significant figure in world of climbing. I have regularly heard the Piolet d’Or referred to as a ‘Climbing Nobel Prize’ or ‘Climbing Oscar’, and it is remarkable that a professional physicist has achieved to that level in competition with full-time, commercially supported mountaineers. I am looking forward immensely to his lectures.”

Tonight’s lecture will be followed by a slide show presentation tomorrow evening illustrating Professor Normand’s own account of suffering, selfishness, success and sacrifice on the 8,000m ascent.

Professor Bruce Normand’s lectures will take place in Lecture Theatre A in the Purdie Building on Tuesday 28 June and Wednesday 29 June from 7.00pm to 9.00pm.

Lectures are free and open to members of the public as well as staff and students of the University. For further information please contact Dr Julie Massey on 01334 463102 or e-mail jjm7@st-andrews.ac.uk

ENDS

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