Dr. Peter Suedfeld awarded the Royal Canadian Geographical Society Burpee Medal

(L-R) Gavin Fitch, President of the RCGS and Peter Suedfeld, UBC Psychology. (Photo: Ben Powless/Canadian Geographic)

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Peter Suedfeld, who was awarded the Lawrence J. Burpee Medal by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS). This medal is awarded to recognize an outstanding contribution or other achievement that greatly enhances the ability of the Society to fulfill its mission of making Canada better known on a national or international level, and/or contributes to the general advancement of geography.

“Exploration plays a central role in geography, and the psychology of human life in extreme environments plays a central role in exploration.” – Dr. Peter Suedfeld

“I am especially pleased about this award because it comes from an organization whose focus is on a discipline other than ours. My research is relevant to several disciplines, but some of them rarely recognize or acknowledge the importance of psychology to their subject,” says Suedfeld, emeritus professor in the department of psychology at UBC. “Exploration plays a central role in geography, and the psychology of human life in extreme environments plays a central role in exploration. This medal shows that the Royal Canadian Geographical Society not only recognizes, but also values, that role.”

Some of the 2018 RCGS medal winners, with RCGS president Gavin Fitch and CEO John Geiger. (Photo: Ben Powless/Canadian Geographic)

Dr. Peter Suedfeld is a globally celebrated psychologist, professor emeritus of the University of British Columbia, and scholar of human adaptation to extreme environments. One of the pioneering researchers in the field of restricted environmental stimulation therapy (REST), Dr. Suedfeld undertook groundbreaking research of the psychological consequences of being exposed to extreme environments, specifically how people adapt to situations in polar environments and space capsules. He established and oversaw the High Arctic Psychology Research Station that operated from Isachsen, an abandoned weather station on Ellef Ringnes Island. He also worked closely with the Canadian Space Agency and NASA on enhancing astronauts’ psychological well-being.

The above citation is from the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Read the full announcement.