‘The Unicorn of the Arctic’

Rob Reves-Sohn spent ten years of his life preparing a robotic submarine to descend below the arctic ice cap and visit the Gakkel Ridge, a line of ridges between 1.8 and 3 miles below the surface of the ocean, between Greenland and Siberia.  He is a geologist, and he was looking to make his mark on the scientific landscape by exploring one of oceanography’s last frontiers. In other words, he wanted to boldly go where no one has gone before, and, if possible, find some crazy creature we never even imagined existed.

But he doesn’t find one. Not to say his expedition failed, but he didn’t find the monster of his dreams. His story was captured by NPR’s Radio Lab, a  show about science that sometimes goes overboard in dramatizing science, but in this case really captured both the joy, tension, and despair of the scientific endeavor.

Zip forward to the 28:30 minute mark of the show, and listen until they switch to the interview with Paul Davies from the Beyond Center (42:00 or so(Unless you like Paul Davies, in which case, carry on)).

There’s been a lot of conversation lately about the problems of science journalism, and I wanted to hold this one up as an example of science journalism done well.


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