Perfect Weather for a Streamlined World
Interestingly, this isn't the first IPY, but the fourth. The first occured in 1882-3 and was followed by updated efforts in 1932-3, and 1957-8. According to the Wikipedia entry, "by most accounts, the privations of these two early operations were extreme, with the men spending less than 10 percent of their time on science, and the rest of the time devoted to survival." That sounds about right.
The 1957-58 IPY was broadened in scope to encompass the entire globe and was thus renamed the International Geophysical Year (IGY). It places me historically (and perhaps also academically) to admit that I know the event only through pop music -- specifically, Donald Fagen's oh-so-shmoove and jazzy, "I.G.Y.", the 1980 hit in which the Steely Dan vocalist sends up his childhood optimism (he was 10 in '57) about a world where a technological Utopia seemed to loom on the horizon ("by '76 we'll be A.O.K.") and a kid in America could envision a world run by beneficent computers; "a just machine to make big decisions / Programmed by fellas with compassion and vision."
And then there's this bit, from which I took the title of the post: "Here at home we'll play in the city / Powered by the sun /Perfect weather for a streamlined world / There'll be spandex jackets, one for everyone."