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  • By Sarah Park Rankin
    Apr 3, 2007
    "Reviewed by Richard Rankin, PhD." This Frozen World: The Polar Diaries of Alfred Wright Stuart is the diary of Stuart’s life and service as a scientist on the United States Antarctic Research Program from November 20, 1958 to March 20, 1960. Initiated as part of the International Geophysical Year (1958), the Antarctic Research Program did basic, ice-cap research that included geophysical surveys over large portions of the frozen surface. Scientists either worked close to their home base or undertook sorties or “traverses” out onto the cap to accomplish research. According to Stuart, “These traverses would observe the weather, along with variations in the earth’s gravitational and magnetic fields. They also would use portable seismographs to determine ice thickness and the characteristics of the sub-ice rocks. Glaciologists on traverses would seek to determine the annual rate of snow over the last several years.” Chosen as a research glaciologist because of his previous... More > polar experience as a U.S. Army geologist in Greenland, the twenty-five-year-old Stuart was a member of an eight-man, international, scientific research team in Antarctica. For eleven months, Stuart and his mates lived in isolation at their small base, conducted extensive research nearby, and survived in a physically harsh and psychologically challenging environment. They traveled out onto the cap in “Sno Cats,” motorized, tracked vehicles. They watched movies, read voraciously, and drank a great deal to cope with the monotony of base life. The culminating assignment for the team was a five-month traverse into a little explored region of Victoria Land. All this and everything else that Stuart found significant are recorded in his daily entries. Beautifully illustrated with many maps and his photographs, Stuart’s polar diary is an important record of Antarctic exploration and scientific research. The diary’s mood ranges from the boredom of base life to the high adventure and danger of the Victoria Land traverse. The enormous scale of Antarctica’s beauty and brutal coldness constantly loom over and threaten to overwhelm the party. But protected in their insulated clothing, Sno Cats, and well-constructed base, the scientific team succeeds in its research and prevails in its mission. As a result—and Stuart and his teams were too immersed in the faithful performance of their daily tasks to recognize this—there is a heroic quality to the diary. The experience also changed Stuart. Previously an agnostic, he “came to appreciate God’s creativity that was evident in the awesome power and beauty of this frozen world.” This Frozen World will appeal especially to students of Antarctica and international exploration. But any reader interested in the drama of human survival and endeavor in an unforgiving, inhospitable environment will also find this book compelling.< Less
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Product Details

Publisher
Pipes & Timbrels Press
Published
March 21, 2007
Language
English
Pages
136
Binding
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Full color
Weight
1.26 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
8.5 wide x 11 tall
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