Alfred McLaren

Global Perspectives Guest Speaker

Captain McLaren “has probably spent more time than anyone else beneath the earth’s northern ice” according to The New York Times.  McLaren, a retired Navy submariner, has explored beneath the Arctic ice on numerous expeditions, the last as commander of his own sub.  After retiring from the Navy in 1981, he earned a Ph.D. in polar studies and focused his research on the Arctic's role in climate change.  Captain McLaren is President of the American Polar Society and Honorary Director and President Emeritus of the Explorers Club.  In 2000, he received the Explorers Club's Lowell Thomas Award for Ocean Exploration. In 2012 he received The Explorers Club's highest honor, The Explorers Club Medal, for “his extraordinary contributions to Arctic exploration and deep sea research, including the first survey of the entire Siberian Continental Shelf.”

Since retiring from the Navy, Dr. McLaren has explored the deep ocean.  Captain McLaren “has probably spent more time than anyone else beneath the earth’s northern ice, measuring its thickness, probing dark waters below, investigating its life and mapping the plains, crags and fissures of its seabed,” reads The New York Times.  He has studied ecosystems teeming with life and made the first human dives on the Bismarck, the German battleship that sank during World War II. 

A research scientist, writer, and lecturer, Captain McLaren is the new President of the American Polar Society, and a partner of Sub Aviator Systems, where he is senior pilot of their revolutionary new submersible the Super Aviator.  He completed lengthy dives during 1999 to both R.M.S. Titanic and the Rainbow Hydrothermal Vents near the Azores, using the deep diving Russian MIR submersibles.  During June 2001, Captain McLaren participated as a diver in “The First Manned Dives to the German battleship Bismarck,” using the deep-diving Russian MIR submersibles to depths of almost 4,800 meters beneath the sea. 

His first book, Unknown Waters: A First-Hand Account of the Historic Under-Ice Survey of the Siberian Continental Shelf By USS Queenfish (SSN-651) was published in 2008 and is in its third printing.  He is presently at work on a second book, entitled Silent and Unseen, Life Aboard Three Cold War Attack Submarines. 

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