Author(s): Rebecca Priestley (ed)
Since British explorer James Cook first circumnavigated Antarctica in the late 18th century, the white continent has exerted a powerful attraction. There is no permanent human habitation, and no mercy from the raw, relentless elements, yet for nearly 200 years explorers and scientists have been drawn to work and sometimes risk their lives here. Rebecca Priestley's landmark anthology reveals the numerous scientific discoveries that have been made, from how sea creatures survive in the freezing waters, to the continent's extraordinary proliferation of meteorites and the startling revelations of its fossils. In the early days, nations vied to establish a presence on the continent to try and claim its resources. Today scientists track the arrival of space particles and examine ice cores, sea-floor sediments and rocks hewn by glaciers to better understand our universe, uncover the story of climate change, and learn how a land once covered in forests became a frozen desert. More than an anthology, this unique book is a thrilling journey through time as explorers and scientists unravel the mysteries of Earth's last great wilderness.
A really good read for anyone interested in history, the heroic exploration of the early days, and science of course . . . and for anyone fascinated by that magical, enigmatic continent that is Antarctica. Vanda Symon, "Radio New Zealand""
Rebecca Priestley is a science writer and historian, a senior lecturer in the Science in Context Group, Victoria University of Wellington, and science columnist for New Zealand Listener. Her landmark anthology The Awa Book of New Zealand Science won the 2009 Royal Society of New Zealand Science Book of the Year Prize. In 2012 she published Mad on Radium: New Zealand in the Atomic Age, a history of the now ‘nuclear-free’ country’s past love affair with all things atomic.