Alain Hubert was born in Schaerbeek and studied Civil Engineering at the University of Louvain-la-Neuve, graduating in 1977. He was one of the founders of the Cherbais furniture-making co-operative in the Ardennes and was also interested in the arts and extreme sports (including rafting, marathons, parascending and mountaineering. He went on mountaineering expeditions all over the world and set himself the challenge of walking to the North Pole, the South Pole and the top of Mount Everest. He achieved the first in 1994, the second in 1998 and he has made five attempts to climb Everest. He has developed other activities, including designing sports equipment and clothing, guiding, writing and speaking at conferences, demonstrating considerable skill at explaining complex issues to ordinary people. In the winter of 2007-8, he spent four months setting up the new Belgian Princess Elisabeth Scientific Polar Station in the Antarctic. He was awarded the Belgian title of Grand Officier de l’Ordre de la Couronne and the Georges Lemaître Prize for service to international science in 2003, and acts as a volunteer goodwill ambassador for UNICEF Belgium.