Russian geographer Andrey Kapitsa dies aged 80

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Satellite image of Lake Vostok

Andrey Kapitsa, the Russian geographer best known for his part in the discovery of Lake Vostok in Antarctica, has died in Moscow at the age of 80. He participated in four Soviet expeditions to the South Pole during his career.

Kapitsa was born to Physics Nobel Prize laureate Pyotr Leonidovich Kapitsa in Cambridge, England in 1931. He graduated from the Moscow State University's Faculty of Geography in 1953, and took part in the first of his four expeditions to the South Pole two years later. In 1967, he led the U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences on a two year expedition through eastern Africa.

Along with other scientists, Kapitsa is credited with the discovery of Lake Vostok in eastern Antarctica. Lake Vostok, named after the polar research station, lies four kilometres below the ice and is around 15.5 thousand km². It is believed that the lake is home to ancient organisms, which have evolved over time.

Kapitsa's body will lie in state on August 4 in the foyer of the Moscow State University’s Community Centre.


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