My name is Andrew Atkin. I spend a fair amount of time working in the Faculty of Education at the Uni of Technology, Sydney as a technical manager.
Those that know me are aware of my intense fascination for all things related to Antarctic history. I'm especially interested in expeditions that investigated the location and effects of the south magnetic pole. The accounts of expeditions to high southern latitudes between 1835 and 1910 are less often mentioned in mainstream literature than those of the tragic heroes of the first two decades of the twentieth century .
This year (2004) is the centenary of the return of two remarkable Antarctic expeditions. The voyages of Scott's Discovery (1901-1904) and von Drygalski's Gauss (1901-1903) were conceived in an atmosphere of scientific cooperation but nationalistic rivalry. These expeditions do not take a prominent place in Antarctic literature. The achievements of the Discovery expedition have always been overshadowed by the tragic death of Scott and his party on the Terra Nova expedition in 1912. Von Drygalski's narrative has only recently been translated into an English language edition. Both expeditions had very significant scientific and geographic results. The areas of operation and the scientific programs (especially with respect to terrestrial magnetism, auroral and meteorological observations) were well planned to be complementary. International cooperation was extended by the inclusion of Nordenskjold's Antarctic (1901-1903), Bruce's Scotia (1902-1904) and Charcot's Francais (1903-1905). In spite of the cooperation between nations with respect to scientific work, on the return of Scott's Discovery the expeditioners were hailed as heroes for their geographical achievement of penetrating further South than the German expedition.
I am especially interested in the life and work of the Australian physicist Louis Bernacchi who travelled to the ice on Borchgrevink's Southern Cross and Scott's Discovery expeditions. His accounts of those enterprises provide much more than the usual "penguin and iceberg" formula. Cruise the links (below) for more detail and please contact me if you are also interested in this sliver of history.
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