Dr. Helene Hoffmann
Helene Hoffmann is a physicist specializing in environmental physics and ice core research. After completing her degree in Heidelberg, she spent 14 months in Antarctica as part of the 38th overwintering team at the German research base Neumayer III. There she met Thomas and began to preserve snowflakes with him. She is currently working as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Department of Earth Sciences in Cambridge (UK). In her research she is interested in reconstructions of the climate of the past by studying glaciers in the Alps and the polar regions. Helene is currently working on an ice core from West Antarctica. She is developing a method which enables to carry out a chemical analysis of the ice composition in a very high depth resolution using laser ablation. This is particularly important for the analysis of very deep and old ice (approx. 100 000 - 150 000 years). The findings of her work can then help to investigate what could happen to the climate system in a warming future. For her, the Cryosity project is also a platform to communicate her research and the challenges of climate change. Through her daily work with glacier ice, she always comes up with new ideas on how scientific findings can be artistically processed and presented. Apart from that, she is always fascinated by the pure beauty of the ice formations and snow crystals.
Ing. Thomas Hoffmann
Thomas Hoffmann (formerly: Sterbenz) is an engineer for energy technology and industrial electronics. From summer 2017 to 2022 he has been working as an engineer at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the field of expedition and station technology, Since summer 2022 he works as Technical-Superintendent for the Neumayer-Station III. In the last 4 years he has spent more than 27 months in Antarctica and the Arctic and has overwintered in both polar regions, which only very few people have done. Growing up in the small village of Arriach in the Austrian Alps near Villach, it is difficult to not like ice and snow. This affinity to snow and ice has not let go of him to this day. From mid-December 2017 to the end of January 2019 Thomas Hoffmann spent the winter as a station engineer at Neumayer Station III. This is where he met his wife Helene, got to know and love her. The next big expedition followed in summer 2019, MOSAiC (The Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate). As part of the crew, Thomas was responsible for all technical matters on the ice, including vehicles and runway. In the 2020/2021 Antarctic summer season, he went south again and spent another three months as an engineer at Neumayer Station. Thomas has a very diverse professional background, he has worked both as a practical electrical installer and as an engineer in research and development in the semiconductor industry. His numerous advanced training courses have broadened his horizons and enabled him to see the world from many perspectives. He has great craftsmanship which he uses at Cryosity to stage the snowflakes and ice crystals with great precision and a great feeling for the subtleties of the objects.