The Unites States, the International Geophysical Year, and the origins of Antarctica's Age of Science
Publication Year: 2006
Published by: University Press of Colorado
Title Page, Copyright Page
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Maps and Figures
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Terms and Abbreviations
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This book began as a wish to tell the story of the men—military and civilian—who planned, built, and helped operate the network of facilities in Antarctica that were established to support scientists during the International...
Preface and Acknowledgements
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My partners tell the story of the origins of this history in their generous Foreword. They left out but one important name—that of George Mazuzan, National Science Foundation (NSF) historian. George, who had earlier overseen the writing...
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The giants of Antarctica’s so-called Heroic Age—Scott, Shackleton, Amundsen, Mawson, later Byrd—are familiar figures, even among the many who know little about the desolate desert of ice at the bottom of the globe. But after the handful...
Prologue: The Call of the Ice
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The pioneers of today’s Antarctica followed a handful of predecessors who, over the previous 180 years, approached and pricked the polar continent seeking riches, knowledge, or glory. A few highlights from what went before help illuminate...
1: The International Geophysical Year: Idea to Reality
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Early Antarctic explorers often used scientific research to legitimize and attract support for their expensive expeditions. The disappointed Shackleton brought back coal, fossil plants, and petrified wood from his near-conquest of the South Pole...
2: All Hands on Deck: Logistics for the High Latitudes
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When Captain George Dufek reported for command of the U.S. Naval Support Force, Antarctica (Task Force 43), on 16 August 1954, charged to ensure all logistical support for the International Geophysical Year, he knew the Navy had “exactly two years...
3: Gaining a Foothold: Operations Base at McMurdo Sound
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The McMurdo-bound Seabees of Operation Deep Freeze I, with little to go on beyond accounts of the Scott and Shackleton expeditions, sketchy Highjump records, and their own mindful preparation, would have to build a base where nearly...
4: Little America V: Science Flagship on the Ice Shelf
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The Navy’s simultaneous task in Operation Deep Freeze I was to establish and make ready the IGY’s headquarters science station on the edge of the vast Ross Ice Shelf. This was Little America V, already named to honor the legacy of America’s polar...
5: Marie Byrd Land: Crevasse Junction, Privation Station
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As winter began in April 1956 for the 166 souls left in Antarctica, Admiral Dufek returned to Washington to prepare for “our biggest year, our roughest mission.” Operation Deep Freeze II would involve twelve ships and 3,400 men, almost...
6: South Pole: Dropped From the Sky
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All of the U.S. IGY stations came forth on a barren landscape, but nowhere was the frigid void more profound than at the South Pole. About 850 miles south of the staging area at McMurdo, at an elevation of nearly two miles...
7: The Gap Stations: Hallett, Wilkes, and Ellsworth
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The remaining three U.S. scientific stations appeared rather belatedly in IGY planning for the Antarctic. Widely scattered along the coastline of the polar continent—Cape Adare, the Knox Coast, and the Weddell Sea—they were all justified...
8: On the Eve: People, Preparations, Policies
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As Antarctica’s Scientific Age was about to begin, IGY program leaders in Washington were still working frantically. They well knew that Deep Freeze II represented the last chance for everything and everybody going to the Antarctic...
9: Comprehending the Cold: Antarctic Weather Quest
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Executive Director Hugh Odishaw called the International Geophysical Year (IGY) the “single most significant peaceful activity of mankind since the Renaissance and the Copernican Revolution.” The Antarctic Committee’s Laurence Gould...
10: Looking Up: The Physics of the Atmosphere
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The sun—source of the earth’s energy—and the little-known upper atmosphere were the focus of IGY investigations in the interwoven disciplines of ionospheric physics, geomagnetism (or terrestrial magnetism), cosmic rays, and the aurora...
11: Under Foot: Ice by the Mile
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What sets the Antarctic apart, of course, is the profound reality of its ice. Vast and unrevealed, it impelled study. True, learning about ice did not require simultaneous observation, a key IGY criterion, but it would take concentrated, cooperative...
12: Life on the Ice: The Experience
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However the tour went for them individually—and for most IGY participants, civilian and military, it was positive overall (at least in remembrance)— their time on the ice was a unique and powerful experience. Appreciating that they were living...
Epilogue: Science and Peace, Continuity and Change
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Science leaders pressed to continue the IGY in Antarctica, which required that the many players—with their differing issues, varying means, and complex interrelationships—agree on new organizational mechanisms. Diplomatic leaders...
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Notes on Sources
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Page Count: 554
Publication Year: 2006