Paul Siple

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American Polar Society Luminary

Paul Allman Siple (1908-1968) was an Eagle Scout and Sea Scout invited by Admiral Richard E. Byrd to accompany him on his first expedition to Antarctica 1928-30. Siple was selected from thousands of applicants in a national competition conducted by the Boy Scouts of America.

American Polar Society founder August Howard, a huge admirer of Byrd, worked at the headquarters of the Boy Scouts during the competition when Siple was selected to go on the Admiral’s first Antarctic expedition. Howard and Siple became fast friends, and Paul played a supporting role in the emergence of the Society.

Notably, Siple was a member of all five of Admiral Byrd’s expeditions to Antarctica from 1928 to 1956: Byrd Antarctic Expeditions I and II, the U.S. Antarctic Service Expedition, Operation Highjump, and Operation Deep Freeze. During the International Geophysical Year 1956-57, he was designated as science leader at the first Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station established by the United States. He was one of the first 18 men to ever winter over at 90 degrees south.

Paul Siple along with Charles Passel are largely credited with creating the wind chill index, developed in the course of research they conducted during the U.S. Antarctic Service Expedition 1939-40.