Classmates and friends of much-missed pioneer in Antarctic Science, Professor David Vaughan (U81), are raising funds to publish his memoir “Breaking the Ice: Antarctica, Climate Change and Me” to raise awareness of the challenges to our planet through the effects of climate change.

The book will be available to buy on Amazon from this autumn and any proceeds from book sales will support the David and Jacqui Vaughan Bursary fund at Churchill College, which will become an endowed bursary for STEM students at the College through a bequest from David’s estate. Donors will be acknowledged in the book and those donating over £100 to the fund will receive a free copy. You can add your support by making a donation here.

Breaking the Ice: Antarctica, Climate Change and Me

Antarctica fascinates us with its awe-inspiring beauty, wildlife, and tales of the heroic age of exploration. Often described as the last frontier, this frozen continent at the bottom of our planet is critical to all life on earth.

In this deeply personal memoir Professor David Vaughan shares the excitement of his first glaciological field trip to Antarctica, passion for the ice and his 40-year quest to solve a scientific conundrum – is the West Antarctic Ice Sheet stable and will climate change drive it into irreversible retreat.

This is the story of a Cambridge University undergraduate who became Director of Science at British Antarctic Survey. For the first time we go behind the scenes to discover what it takes to undertake polar research and to reach scientific consensus about a global issue. David shares the exhausting efforts that he and colleagues from the international glaciological community made to explain the meaning of their research to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

This memoir is filled with excitement, passion, reflection, and finally, a heart-breaking diagnosis in 2020. Faced with the devastating discovery of stomach cancer that was to claim his life in 2023, David describes how contemplation, and creative leather work helped bring calm and readjustment to his life.

Having spent an entire career committed to providing scientific information without campaigning David wonders if he missed his chance to adequately influence policy-response on what should be done about climate change. Readers of this memoir may think otherwise.