Working on the sea ice of the Bellingshausen Sea
Whilst wandering around various old textbooks I came across a wonderful quote:
Polar ice cannot be studied as other branches of science, philosophy, medicine or law are studied. The study of sea ice belongs among the most exhausting disciplines which have to be studied on the spot, in loco status nascendi et vitae, and which require strong men, absolutely sound in mind and body, courageous, willing and fit to renounce all comfort, thoroughly prepared both in theory for the work and ready to face all the hardships that may come like a bolt from the blue and in the most unfavourable moments. The sea-ice has to be studied far away, in the north or south, in white deserts of ice, where there is nothing, nothing else, no shelter no help; and where, on those vast plains in which the chasms of the sea keep tearing open and unsurmountable obstacles in the shape of mountains of ice keep piling up, the Lord only is with man.
“and as long as man will listen to the roar of the waves above the depth of the the sea, as long as the human eye will follow the play of the northern light on the silent snowy landscapes, and far away in infinite space, and so long as it will look out for the celestial bodies far away in infinite space, so long the romance of the Unknown will lead the human genius forward and upward!” (Nansen, Nebelheim.)
It is a quote from the beginning of Cryologia Maris by Josef Zukriegel, which was published in 1935 by the Geographical Institute of the Charles IV. University.
All of what Zukriegel says is all true of course – except naturally lots of women do sea ice research as well. In fact if you look at the latest AR5 IPCC report, and chapter 4 which is on the cryosphere, you will see many brilliant women polar scientists in the reference list.
Josef is a bit hard to track down for a Brit, but he does have an island named after him in Antarctica. If you look at the extremely useful gazetteer of the UK Antarctic Place names committee you can see it is actually in quite a hard place to get too.