Captain Alfred Scott McLaren, President of The American Polar Society, is a lecturer, writer, and research scientist. His area of scientific research is the role of the Polar Regions in global climate change, and he has traveled extensively in both the Arctic and Antarctic. He is the author of over 50 research papers in scientific professional journals. He is also Director of Sub Aviator Systems LLC and Senior Pilot of their revolutionary new submersible the Super Aviator. Captain McLaren is a Director of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology at Texas A&M and President Emeritus of The Explorers Club, founded in 1904 to promote scientific exploration and field research.
A former research and teaching professor at the University of Colorado, the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, and publisher of the weekly magazine Science News, he received his Ph.D. in Physical Geography of the Polar Regions from the University of Colorado, an M.Phil. in Polar Studies from Cambridge University (Peterhouse), England, and a M.S. in International Affairs from George Washington University. He is a Fellow of the Arctic Institute of North America and the American Geographical Society.
A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and the U.S. Naval War College, Captain McLaren was among the first 100 selected by Admiral H.G. Rickover to receive nuclear power training. As a naval officer, Captain McLaren made three Arctic expeditions on nuclear attack submarines, one on board USS Seadragon (SSN-584) during the first submerged transit of the Northwest Passage; two others were on USS Queenfish (SSN-651): a Davis Strait/Baffin Bay expedition and a North Pole expedition that included the first survey under ice of the entire Siberian Continental Shelf (5,200 km). He commanded Queenfish during the latter expedition and for a total of four years. He was subsequently honored in 1983, with the Societe de Geographic Paris’ Silver Medal for Polar Exploration and La Medaille de La Ville De Paris (Echelon Argent).
He is a veteran of more than 20 Cold War submarine operations. His awards, as a Cold War submarine captain, include the Distinguished Service Medal, the nation’s highest peacetime award; two Legions of Merit and four Navy Unit Citations. Currently a deep sea explorer and scientist, Captain McLaren completed lengthy dives using the Russian deep-diving MIR submersibles to: R.M.S. Titanic in 1999 and 2003, the Rainbow Hydrothermal Vents along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge in 1999, and during June 2001; one of the first manned dives to the wreck of the German battleship Bismarck at a depth of 4,750 meters beneath the sea. He returned to Bismarck in early August 2002 to make a second dive and participate in a comprehensive high definition (HD) filming of the wreck site. In February 2003, he became the first deep-sea explorer to be licensed as a “Pilot in Command” of famed designer and builder Graham Hawkes’ new high performance submersible Deep Flight Aviator, which is “flown” underwater like a fixed-wing aircraft. Captain McLaren is SCUBA-qualified and an instrument-rated private pilot. He received The Explorers Club’s Lowell Thomas Medal for Ocean Exploration in 2000. His first book, Unknown Waters, published by the University of Alabama Press in early 2008, is now in its third printing. It was recently named a “Notable Naval Book of 2008” by the U.S. Naval Institute. He is currently at work on a second book entitled “Tales of the Cold War.”