Norfolk woman has Antarctic glacier named after her

Karen Heywood on a boat wearing hi-vis and a hard hat

A glacier has been named after UEA academic, Karen Heywood, for her outstanding contribution to Antarctic science - Credit: KAREN HEYWOOD

It is always special to have hard work acknowledged with a "thank you” or a “well done” - but imagine having an entire glacier named after you.  

Well, that is exactly what has happened to a professor from the University of East Anglia (UEA) who received the accolade for outstanding contribution to Antarctic science.  

The Heywood Glacier on the Antarctic Peninsula is named after its researcher, Karen Heywood, a professor of physical oceanography at the UEA’s School of Environmental Sciences.   

Map showing the Heywood Glacier

Map of Heywood Glacier - Credit: Bristish Antarctic Survey

The professor has led six oceanographic research cruises to Antarctica since 1995 and has also pioneered the use of autonomous ocean gliders there for understanding the processes of ocean, ice and atmosphere interaction. 

She has also previously been awarded the Challenger Medal from the Challenger Society for Marine Science, and is president of the Ocean Sciences Division of the European Geosciences Union, a fellow of the American Geophysical Union, and editor of the Journal of Physical Oceanography.  

Karen Heywood with a glacier in the background

A glacier has been named after UEA academic, Karen Heywood, for her outstanding contribution to Antarctic science - Credit: KAREN HEYWOOD

"Antarctica is close to my heart," she said.

"It has been a great privilege to be able to go there to undertake oceanographic discovery and research.  

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“I love the idea that someone in years to come might look at a map and see my name, or even visit the Heywood Glacier. Let’s just hope that climate change doesn’t mean the glacier disappears.”  

The glacier is one of 28 new place names announced today by the Government of the British Antarctic Territory to mark 200 years since the discovery of the Antarctic continent.

The place names honour those who have made an exceptional contribution to furthering the understanding, protection and management of Antarctica over the last 50 years.  

The Heywood Glacier is about 18km long (11.1 miles), roughly the distance between Norwich and Loddon, and 3km wide (1.8 miles). It flows north from the Wegener Range, Palmer Land, to the west of Heezen Glacier, to join Maury Glacier.   

A new social media campaign to promote Antarctic place names has also been launched. Follow @AntarcticNames on Twitter and Instagram, as it will be showcasing some of the stories behind them and encouraging those who work and study on unnamed glaciers, mountains and coastal sites to get in touch. 

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