An illustration of a bathysphere, 1934

The New Oceanography: More Remote and More Inclusive

The days of celebrity oceanographers romancing the deep are gone, and maybe that’s a good thing.
William Dampier

William Dampier, Pirate Scientist

An oft-overlooked explorer who traversed the globe, driven by his thirst for scientific discovery—and a love of piracy.
Illustration of Ferdinand Magellan

The Pirate-y Life of Ferdinand Magellan

Magellan’s voyage in search of the “Spice Islands” was marked by storms, sharks, and scurvy—plus multiple attempts at mutiny.
The Terra Nova, 1911

Why Cheerfulness Mattered in the Antarctica Expedition of 1912

Often associated with stoic masculinity, Robert Falcon Scott's British Antarctic Expedition was in fact defined by cheerfulness and friendly homemaking.
Richard E. Byrd’s First Antarctic Expedition, 1928-1930

Polar Expedition or Publicity Stunt?

Richard E. Byrd's 1928-1930 Antarctica Expedition was sponsored by mass media. Was it all about science and exploration -- or about Byrd's personal #brand?
Relics from the Franklin Search Expedition

When Clairvoyants Searched for a Lost Expedition

When Captain Sir John Franklin's Arctic expedition went awry, clairvoyants claimed to be able to contact the crew members. Why did people believe them?
HMS Endeavour

The Curious Voyage of HMS Endeavour

Captain James Cook had secret orders to to search for a predicted Southern Continent. He ended up claiming New Zealand and part of Australia for the U.K.