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Polar exploration is at once the cleanest and most isolated way of having a bad time which has been devised, wrote Apsley Cherry-Garrard of his time with the 1910 Scott expedition to the South Pole. And that's how most of us still imagine polar expeditions: stolid men with ice riming their beards drawing sledges and risking death for scientific knowledge. But polar science has changed drastically over the past century – as Chris Linder shows us, brilliantly, with Science on Ice.
An oceanographer and award-winning photographer, Linder chronicles four polar expeditions in this richly illustrated volume: to a teeming colony of Adelie penguins, through the icy waters of the Bering Sea in spring, beneath the pack ice of the eastern Arctic Ocean, and over the lake – studded surface of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Each trip finds Linder teamed up with a prominent science journalist, and together their words and pictures reveal the day-to-day details of how science actually gets done at the poles. Science on Ice includes breathtaking images of the stark polar landscape that alternate with gritty, close-up shots of scientists working in the field, braving physical danger and brutal conditions, and working with remarkable technology designed to survive the poles – like robotic vehicles that chart undersea mountain ranges – as they gather crucial information about our planet's distant past, and the risks that climate change poses for its future.
The result is a combination travel book and paean to the hard work and dedication that underlies our knowledge of life on earth. Science on Ice takes readers to the farthest reaches of our planet; science has rarely been more exciting – or inspiring.
Chris Linder is a research associate in the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution's Physical Oceanography Department and a professional freelance photographer.
'Science on Ice' gives the reader a glimpse into the challenges of conducting field research in the extreme and isolated environments of the Arctic and Antarctic. I came away with a new appreciation of both the risks and adventures scientists experience, the creativity and adaptability they must possess to work in difficult conditions, and most of all, the fact that they are normal human beings with a strong sense of curiosity that fuels their work. This book will help us understand these distant reaches of our world, and it has enormous potential to spark the minds of future would-be scientists.
- Amy Gulick, photographer and author of "Salmon in the Trees: Life in Alaska's Tongass Rain Forest"