Rough Data

Warning: Research at your own risk. Welcome to the new frontier, where scientists use extreme adventure skills in the wild pursuit of knowledge.

Sep 1, 2000
Outside Magazine

My forthcoming book, SCIENCE AT THE EXTREME, profiles a breed of scientists who don't wear lab coats or hover over test tubes and formulas. What sets these researchers apart from their more sedentary peers is what they do in the field: They hang from suspension bridges, climb the world's tallest trees, and crawl through narrow shafts into the deepest bowels of the earth. They swim with great white sharks, wade with crocodiles, rappel into active volcanoes, and scuba dive inside creaking glacial caves, gathering data in perilous, unforgiving places.

"Extreme science," as I've dubbed this new style of research, is defined by a simple, time-honored principle: Screw up, and you die.

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