As well as being an author and editor of various polar books and academic papers, Stephen Scott-Fawcett is an adviser to the Scott Polar research Institute in Cambridge. He told us how there is evidence of vegetation in Antarctica’s very distant past when there was apparently a tropical climate, during four ‘green’ periods. However, he went on to discuss a more recent period, called ‘The Great White’ by early explorers, i.e. from the mid-19th century onwards. The first explorers investigated some of the coastline (from a distance!) but it was only in 1898 that the first human actually landed there on terra firma. Between then and 1922 people from 49 different nations came to explore and often to lay claim to sections of Antarctica. Gradually more and more scientific work was done (a period called ‘The Great White Laboratory’) and in 1959 to 1961 the Antarctic Treaty was first signed and then ratified, in order to enable visitors to come and to make further scientific work possible without, in principle, political factors getting in the way. Since 1961 much further scientific work has been done, such as research into the hole in the ozone layer. The Antarctic Treaty System, limits mining, fishing and other activities, but it remains to be seen how long this system will function as Antarctica contains great mineral wealth. Stephen concluded his talk with a series of remarkable photos of Antarctica.