A History of Antarctic Science.

A humanistic study of the development of Antarctic science (not much different from science elsewhere apart from the extreme conditions); as such it constitutes a quite comprehensive history of most Antarctic exploration as well. Antarctic science grows out of mainstream science but has a different relation to politics. Contrasts the “heroic” explorers with the scientists for whom deprivation was no virtue. Fogg defines Antarctic as within the Antarctic Convergence (aka Polar Front), below 50 degrees south, not the 60 degrees of the Antarctic Treaty.

Starts with Edmond Halley and his voyage aboard Paramore to the 52nd parallel in early 1700. He was about 200 statute miles south of South Georgia where he encountered immense icebergs, and much fog, which prompted him to withdraw. He didn’t return but was the first to connect the aurora with geomagnetism, and among the first to have been so close to Antarctica. (See Halley’s The Three Voyages of Edmond Halley in the Paramore, 1698-1701. Edited Norman J. W. Thrower. London: Hakluyt Society, 1981). The few studies of Halley I’ve seen make little or nothing of his apparent priority in approaching Antarctica.

Bouvet was next in 1739, which eventually became a Norwegian weather station.

p. 18, Cook’s first voyage on Endeavour with Banks 1768-1771: …of the books they took that by De Brosses seems to have been particularly influential. (Carr, 1983).

Second Cook voyage aboard Resolution and Adventure left London in 1772 and reached its furthest south on January 31, 1774. Naturalist was Johann Forster with his son Georg, after Banks withdrew in a snit. p. 22: There seems to be no list of books taken aboard the Resolution but that Forster took many with him is evident from his journal (Hoare, 1982, p. 63). He was an avid collector and his library was eventually deemed to be the most outstanding one in private hands in Germany.” This second voyage reached over 71 degrees south and circumnavigated the continent without seeing it. William Wales was part of the scientific staff, later Leigh Hunt’s maths teacher at Christ’s Hospital. Fogg gives Cook’s famous quote predicting that “no man will ever venture further than I have done and that the lands which may lie to the South will never be explored” (p. 32).

Thadeus Fabian von Bellingshausen’s 1819-21 Antarctica expedition aboard Mirnyi and Vostok lacked any naturalists—those chosen claimed too little notice, something Bellingshausen thought unreasonable “since all they required for their work was books” which could have been provided in Copenhagen or London. If ice shelves can be accepted as part of the Continent then Bellingshausen was the first to spot Antarctica (p. 36). Peter I island was first land spotted within the Antarctic Circle and he also discovered and named Alexander Island.

Next there are sealing expeditions of James Weddell (1822-24) and Captain Edmund Fanning of Stonington (1792 to 1823).

p. 81: In a Joseph Hooker lecture in 1846 about the James Clark Ross voyage said: “I believe no instruments, however newly invented, was omitted, even down to an apparatus for daguerreotyping and Talbot typing, and we left England provided with a register for every known phenomenon of nature, though certainly not qualified to cope with them all.” Fogg mentions that there was no record of use of the photography but that the expedition had an excellent scientific library.

p. 106ff, in a section on whaling expeditions Fogg notes frequent hostility to scientific diversions from the commercial business of Norwegian voyages, and although “Scientific societies in Australia were enthusiastic and lent books and charts”, scientific personnel were basically excluded. They did at least inspire William S. Bruce’s interest in Antarctica leading to his Scotia expedition.

p. 120 notes that Murray’s Antarctic Manual contains an Antarctic bibliography and that half the 1200 books aboard Discovery were scientific works.

p. 144: good photo of scientists reading and shelves of books.