Science on Ice: Four Polar Expeditions (Hardcover)
“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 Adélie 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. Breathtaking images of the stark polar landscape 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.
— Jan Gardner
"Armchair explorers can travel to the top and bottom of the earth with [this] coffee table book . . . filled with glossy photos of the Arctic and Antarctica accompanied by narratives about the latest science from these regions. Science on Ice follows four groups of researchers who, among other projects, observe Adélie penguins, chart the floor of the Arctic Sea and trace the melting of Greenland’s ice sheet."
— Scientific American
"Photojournalist Linder has been documenting polar science expeditions for the past several years, and he’s collected his best photos in this new book. The beautiful photography is accented by essays from the science writers, including Smithsonian freelancers Helen Fields and Hugh Powell, who accompanied Linder on the trips. . . . What makes this book truly special is that Linder’s photos include not just adorable wildlife and stunning Arctic landscapes but also fascinating images of scientists at work and at play."
"Science on Ice rightly casts those who are charged with finding out more about our changing planet as true modern era explorers. Exciting tales of helicopters, submarines and icebreakers, coupled with emotive personal experiences in the face of adversity serve to decimate the normally anodyne aura that Science carries. This book should be mandatory in all schools, careers departments, and polar fanatics’ coffee tables across the globe, and when there, I expect that Linder’s efforts will have more influence on the future of the poles than he could ever have dreamed."
— Jeff Wilson
"A century of polar science has seen vast change, not least in the researchers still braving the blizzards and gelid waters. To give an idea of their daily realities, oceanographer and photographer Linder and several embedded journalists followed four Arctic and Antarctic expeditions studying, variously, an Adelie penguin colony, the Bering Sea in spring, the Greenland ice sheet and ocean pack ice in the eastern Arctic. The vivid images—of fishing for zooplankton at dawn, intent ice-breaking crews, Ernest Shackleton’s hut at Cape Royds, for instance—enliven a detailed yet accessible chronicle."
"There is much here to interest all kinds of readers: images of polar animals—of course—and ice (plenty of it) pictured in frequently astonishing ways. The book also features photographs of icebreakers, 'deep submergence vehicles,' and other technological marvels. Best are the sublime images of frozen panoramas—the book's oblong design encourages readers to spread it flat and browse the visuals. The focus, though, is on the scientists. Going behind the scenes, Linder captures them deploying instruments, interpreting data, and engaging in revealing nonscientific, casual moments as well. Readers are apt to come away with a new or deeper appreciation for those whose laboratory is the great, white outdoors. For anyone who has ever had arctic dreams, this is a fine choice. It could perhaps steer young people with career aspirations of a scientific bent toward polar specialties."
— Library Journal
"The excitement of fieldwork as well as the inevitable hardships and even tedium are well captured in picture and word. Each chapter tells a separate story and all but the third chapter conclude with a reflection on the future of the polar environment under a changing climate. . . . First and foremost this popular scientific book represents a beautiful pictorial record of polar fieldwork."
“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"
"What is science? Chris Linder and his journalist friends answer that question with exquisite photography and sensitive, informed writing as they journey with scientists to the polar regions. Through Science on Ice, the reader participates in expeditions and becomes aware of the method of inquiry, known as Science, by which, with relevant foreknowledge, questions are asked such that with a bit of creativity (but sometimes under daunting conditions) answers result. Those answers bring new inquiry. . . . It's like a drug."
— David Ainley, Penguin Science and The Last Ocean