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Friday, 23 February 2018

One Day, One Night: Portraits of the South Pole by Dr. John Bird and Jennifer McCallum - Book Review

Experience Life At The Coldest And Most Isolated Place On Earth
New York, NY, November 11, 2017  Imagine, for a moment, spending one year at the bottom of the world, in 100-below-zero temperatures. One couple chose to not only imagine it, but to also live it, and they've written a riveting account of their unforgettable experiences.
In One Day, One Night: Portraits of the South Pole, scientist John Bird along with writer and composer Jennifer McCallum take readers along on a journey like no other, as they fly to the middle of Antarctica and live under the dome for a year with 50 other researchers at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.The book's title is a nod to the six-month-long "day” of 24-hour sunlight and the six-month-long "night” of perpetual darkness. The nonfiction narrative provides a candid, first-hand account of the challenges the couple faced as they tried to adapt — both physically and emotionally — to a year of isolation in the unforgiving environment.
One Day, One Night also immerses readers in the station's incredible microcosm of scientific discovery, where researchers study not only the mysteries of climate change that lie frozen beneath them but also the astrophysics of the heavens above through the famous South Pole Telescopes.
The Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station is where world-class science happens against a backdrop of spectacular natural phenomena and where the extreme conditions prove that the human body's ability to adapt is nothing short of miraculous.
Author Jennifer McCallum holds an M.A. in music composition and has composed chamber and choral works. While living at the South Pole, she wrote an article for The Globe and Mail titled "Poetry at the South Pole,” and she also wrote a feature-length cover story for Musicworks, a magazine circulated among the Canadian and American experimental music scene. Musicworks also distributed a sound recording of her chamber work, "Continuus Line,” which describes barren landscapes.  
As an atmospheric scientist, author John Bird spent several winters at a remote observatory near the North Pole studying the ozone hole, prior to his posting at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. He holds a Ph.D. in space science and has taught at several universities, including Imperial College in London. He climbed the Matterhorn and Denali mountains, and broke the world altitude record for hang gliding by descending from a helium balloon at 35,000 feet. He has trained with NASA astronauts both underwater and in zero-g aircraft to develop experiments. He has published over 70 magazine articles and peer-reviewed scientific papers. He is the author of The Upper Atmosphere, published by NASA.
One Day, One Night: Portraits of the South Pole was awarded Honorable Mention from the New York Book Festival and was a finalist in the New Generation Indie Book Awards.

My review:
Well, what can I say...I was invited to experience life at the coldest and most isolated place on Earth - from the comfort of my living room. And, what an experience it was! I had to turn the central heating thermometer up while reading the book. If you are interested in visiting the South Pole read this book first. I have to say it's not on my bucket list to visit lol! It would be far too cold for me. However, the science I learned about the work that goes on there is amazing. From how ice cores reveal individual years, just like rings around a tree reveal it's age. And, Ice Cores reveal data on carbon dioxide , a greenhouse gas. Who'd have thought! 
You will read about what these guys eat, how they sleep, and how they manage to go outdoors at such low temperatures to work. I wonder how they manage to get their Vitamin D because even when the sun shines their skin is completely covered, for obvious reasons.
I raise my hat to John Bird, Jennifer McCallum and all of the Polies who spend a year at a time, with no way of leaving, in this dangerous environment to help us. 

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