One Day, One Night – Portraits of the South Pole


An Awe-Inspiring Account Of Life At The Bottom Of The World

Imagine, for a moment, spending one year at the bottom of the world, in 100-below-zero temperatures. One couple chose to not only imagine it, but to also live it, and they’ve written a riveting account of their unforgettable experiences.

In One Day, One Night: Portraits of the South Pole, scientist John Bird along with writer and composer Jennifer McCallum take readers along on a journey like no other, as they fly to the middle of Antarctica and live under the dome for a year with 50 other researchers at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.

The book’s title is a nod to the six-month-long “day” of 24-hour sunlight and the six-month-long “night” of perpetual darkness. The nonfiction narrative provides a candid, first-hand account of the challenges the couple faced as they tried to adapt — both physically and emotionally — to a year of isolation in the unforgiving environment.

One Day, One Night also immerses readers in the station’s incredible microcosm of scientific discovery, where researchers study not only the mysteries of climate change that lie frozen beneath them but also the astrophysics of the heavens above through the famous South Pole Telescopes.

The Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station is where world-class science happens against a backdrop of spectacular natural phenomena and where the extreme conditions prove that the human body’s ability to adapt is nothing short of miraculous.

One Day, One Night: Portraits of the South Pole was awarded Honorable Mention from the New York Book Festival and was a finalist in the New Generation Indie Book Awards.

My husband was in the US Navy for 11 years. He explored every continent except Antarctica and Australia. He’s had a dream of flying down to the South Pole, landing long enough to step out, and leave. The weather conditions are so extreme but this book helps give you insight on how people can adapt to any given conditions. The journey is one that I, personally, wouldn’t want to take; however, I felt immersed into the experience. Very intriguing and educational!



About the Authors

As an atmospheric scientist, Dr. John Bird spent several winters at a remote observatory near the North Pole studying the ozone hole, prior to his posting at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.  He holds a Ph.D. in space science, and taught at several universities including Imperial College in London.  He climbed the Matterhorn and Denali, and broke the world altitude record for hang gliding by descending from a helium balloon at 35,000 feet.  John trained in fighter aircraft; and with the NASA astronauts both underwater in space suits, and in the “vomit comet” KC-135 weightlessness aircraft to develop experiments for the space station.  He has published over seventy magazine articles and peer-reviewed scientific papers. He is the author of The Upper Atmosphere, published by NASA.  

Jennifer McCallum holds an M.A. in music composition.  She has composed chamber and choral works.  She has also choreographed for dance.  Following her degree, she pursued one year of feminist studies.  While living at the South Pole, she wrote an article for The Globe and Mail titled “Poetry at the South Pole”; she also wrote a feature-length cover story for Musicworks, a magazine circulated amongst the Canadian and American new-music community.  Musicworks distributed a sound recording of her chamber work, Continuus Line, which describes barren landscapes.  Jennifer’s present activities include apprenticing as an organist, composing, and presenting colorful speeches about the South Pole to local community groups.

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