Third-year RCID student Walter Iriarte has returned from a trip to D.C. where he visited a special exhibition at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History on theChilean Mine Rescue. Because the rescue attracted over a billion viewers (according to the current Chilean Minister of Public Works) and especially because two of the miners were known to have written poems while entrapped, Walter was drawn to the exhibit as an important piece in his current dissertation project. Artifacts from the ordeal were on display, poems and writings sent between the miners and their families being of particular interest to Walter. Also on display was the Fenix 2 backup capsule.
The highlight of Walter’s trip, though, was the Smithsonian Institute hosted workshop and presentation featuring Minister Laurence Golborne (organizer of the rescue mission) and Luis Urzua (the last miner to be extracted). Before the official presentations began, Walter had the honor of interviewing both Minister Golborne and Don (Mr.) Urzua. During the presentation, the speakers shared with the guests various stories not known to the public. Both Golborne and Urzua also took time to discuss what critical factors contributed to their survival. “The exchange between us was incredibly meaningful and abundant,” reported Walter. “The experience has already initiated another project which will be in works after the dissertation. I am very thankful for the opportunity and look forward to sharing some of the information during my oral defense."