Expedition, Scientific

Expedition, Scientific


an organized form of scientific field research that may include geographical, geological, hydrological, soil, or botanical research.

Although a scientific expedition usually entails travel along a route through an area under study, permanent stations are being increasingly used in long-term expeditions. A scientific expedition comprises a group of specialists and auxiliary personnel organized into a team or party and outfitted with the necessary equipment. Depending on the aims of its research, an expedition may be conducted within the framework of one or more scientific disciplines.

Modern expeditionary research is a multifaceted operation. Personnel must be trained, and they must be outfitted with scientific instruments and equipment. They must be provided with transportation and with the materiel necessary for their nourishment, rest, and safety. All the needed materials must be delivered to the work site. Reconnaissance must be conducted, findings must be recorded, and materials gathered must be subjected to preliminary analysis in the field and then to complete analysis in the laboratory.

Noted for an especially wide range of research are expeditions in which more than one country participates, for example, the expeditions that were conducted during the International Geophysical Year, when studies were carried out simultaneously in different parts of the world.

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