The Land Beneath the Ice: The Pioneering Years of Radar Exploration in Antarctica

Princeton Univ. Jan. 2023. 464p. ISBN 9780691237916. $39.95. SCI
This book offers a firsthand account of polar research conducted in Antarctica by one of its early investigators. Written by a longstanding member of the Scott Polar Research Institute in the UK, it describes in fascinating detail how the newly discovered technique of radio-echo sounding in 1968 collected data on ice density, composition, and volume. The intrepid scientists involved in this research explored the nature of the ice sheets, the discovery of alpine terrain far below the surface, the existence of lakes within the ice, and the climate change, observable and recordable even back then. Beset by many difficulties including weather, equipment failure, uncertain funding, scientific rivalries, and administrative bureaucracy, it is amazing how much data was obtained, analyzed, and shared through ongoing research cycles. Woven throughout this history of science is also the voice of the author, who relies on his own diaries and logbooks written, at that time, to flesh out his account. This personal account adds much piquancy to a story of scientific discovery and ongoing exploration of a compellingly unique continent.
VERDICT Recommended for all science collections.
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