Chasing Science at Sea: Racing Hurricanes, Stalking Sharks, and Living Undersea with Ocean Experts

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University of Chicago Press, May 15, 2009 - Science - 178 pages
To the average office-dweller, marine scientists seem to have the good life: cruising at sea for weeks at a time, swimming in warm coastal waters, living in tropical paradises. But ocean scientists who go to sea will tell you that it is no vacation. Creature comforts are few and the obstacles seemingly insurmountable, yet an abundance of wonder and discovery still awaits those who take to the ocean. Chasing Science at Sea immerses readers in the world of those who regularly go to sea—aquanauts living underwater, marine biologists seeking unseen life in the deep ocean, and the tall-ship captains at the helm, among others—and tells the fascinating tale of what life—and science—is like at the mercy of Mother Nature.
With passion and wit, well-known marine scientist Ellen Prager shares her stories as well as those of her colleagues, revealing that in the field ingenuity and a good sense of humor are as essential as water, sunblock, and GPS. Serendipity is invaluable, and while collecting data is the goal, sometimes just getting back to shore means success. But despite the physical hardship and emotional duress that come with the work, optimism and adventure prompt a particularly hardy species of scientist to return again and again to the sea.
Filled with firsthand accounts of the challenges and triumphs of dealing with the extreme forces of nature and the unpredictable world of the ocean, Chasing Science at Sea is a unique glimpse below the water line at what it is like and why it is important to study, explore, and spend time in one of our planet’s most fascinating and foreign environments.

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User Review  - AJBraithwaite - LibraryThing

Could have been fascinating, but somehow wasn't. Felt as though I was being talked down to all the time and got very tired of reading the phrase 'in the field' (which seems particularly inappropriate ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - goydaeh - LibraryThing

Prager offers a good introduction to several ocean-related sciences, but the book suffers severely from not following the "show, don't tell" rule. The incidents she depicts in the book are (mostly ... Read full review


1 An Introduction
2 Tales of Wonder
3 The Unexpected
4 Forces of Nature
5 Overcoming Obstacles
6 Living and Working Undersea
7 Going Deeper
8 The Changing Sea
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About the author (2009)

Ellen J. Prager is currently the chief scientist at the world’s only undersea research station, Aquarius Reef Base, in the Florida Keys and a freelance writer. Among her publications are The Oceans and Furious Earth: The Science and Nature of Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and Tsunamis; a series of children’s books including Sand, Volcano, and Earthquakes with the National Geographic Society; and a children’s novel, Adventure on Dolphin Island.

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