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.
Rebecca Priestley is a science writer and historian. She reviews popular science and science history books for "The Listener "and "The Dominion Post," writes for the" Listener"'s health and science pages, and is a contributor to Te Ara - the online encyclopedia of New Zealand. She has written and edited numerous books on science, including "The Elegant Universe of Albert Einstein," "The Awa Book of New Zealand Science," and" Mad on Radium: New Zealand in the Atomic Age."
"A skilful and thoughtful compilation . . . Antarctica speaks to us with a message of both endurance and vulnerability." --David Carlson, director, World Climate Research Programme "Compelling reading -- from earliest explorers to contemporary Antarctic scientists." --Professor Julian Dowdeswell, director, Scott Polar Research Institute "A wonderful, sumptuous book which reminds us what an utterly extraordinary planet we find ourselves on." -- Marcus Chown, award-winning science writer, journalist and broadcaster "This is an excellently browsable bedside book . . . [Rebecca Priestley] is in an excellent position to mediate between scientists and educated non-scientists." --Nicholas Reid, reidsreader.blogspot.co.nz "This wonderful collection of science writing will make you see Antarctica as never before." --Matt Vance, author, Ocean Notorious "After reading Priestley's remarkable anthology, people will feel very differently about the great, white, southern continent." --Julia Millen, NZ Books Quarterly Review "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
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