Have you ever heard the names Robert Falcon Scott or Roald Amundsen? They were both explorers who loved the extremes, and they both wanted to be the first to reach the South Pole. As true adventurers, they were willing to risk their lives if that's what it took to push the limits—to go where no human had gone before. The weather at the South Pole was gruesome. In September 1911, temperatures became so extreme that Amundsen, in spite of his extensive preparations, was forced to abandon his trek. On October 19, he and his team took four sledges and 52 dogs, and set out again. Just 12 days later, Scott followed, using motorized sledges as well as horses and dogs. Scott desperately wanted his British team to beat Norway, represented by Amundsen. Scott's plan was to slim down his initially large caravan, so that only four men would ultimately make it to the pole. But Amundsen had the better equipment. For clothing, he relied on furred skins, as worn by the Inuit, the natives of the earth's coolest regions. After 57 days in the bitter cold, many arduous climbs, and endless trudging through an inhospitable desert of ice, Amundsen reached his destination on December 14.
While I couldn't imagine ever walking in Amundsen's or Scott's shoes (and I mean this quite literally), I do find their stories immensely inspiring. It is not just the bravery that intrigues me. I also feel that the kind of exploration they were committed to is a great metaphor for life in general, where the most defining and rewarding things usually don't come about easily. And the metaphor clearly extends to the work we do at Primetals Technologies: We like to pioneer new solutions that will change the way metals are produced. We want to push the limits of what's possible. We strive to continually provide the future-oriented technologies our customers have come to expect from us. And in order to do just that, we're on a mission—to explore what's next.
Dr. Tom Widter
Editor-in-Chief of Metals Magazine