Piles of papers and books with esoteric titles like Principles of Glacier Mechanics are strewn about both ends of the L-shaped desk. The middle portion of the lengthier appendage is cleared of debris for a laptop, and a map on screen depicts the warped contours of an ice sheet located on the Earth’s most mysterious land mass.
Seated behind the desk in his first-floor office on UC Santa Cruz’s wooded campus, glacier expert and native Pole Slawek Tulaczyk peers at the Antarctic image through a pair of wide-rimmed spectacles that resemble laboratory safety goggles. His dark brown hair is mussed at the peak and greying at the sides, and his belly bulges underneath a green plaid button down and fleece vest.
Tulaczyk could be cast simply as the brilliant academician that he is. But, as he explains the passion behind his research into Antarctica’s glaciers, it’s clear that there’s more lurking beneath the professorial archetype.