12 March 2021

#AntarcticLog: Antarctic Service Medal

Posted by Shane Hanlon

#AntarcticLog is a series of comics by Karen Romano Young. You can find the originals here

Last week I received a special package in the mail: my Antarctic Service Medal, made for my contribution to U.S. efforts to understand the continent — and the planet.  What did I contribute? Not much. A few water samples from off the coast of Palmer Station.  And some comics about Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences scientists Pete Countway, Paty Matrai, and Carlton Rauschenberg, as they put that water to good use. They analyzed it, rocked it, nurtured it, (more on this process next week) and used it to understand processes happening at the surface of the ocean. 

I struggled to understand — and to translate what I learned into visuals.  That was the whole purpose of my National Science Foundation Antarctic Artists and Writers proposal — making the invisible visible. 

Which do you think was most informative and effective? Or fun? Or inviting? (These are just a few of the challenges a science comic creator faces!) 

The jigsaw puzzle: 

Talking birds: 

A model in a cloud dress: 


A list of stepping stones along a path, with scientists looking on, to keep things personal? 

In the end, it’s all personal — the scientists’ story, my story, and especially your response to it as a reader/viewer. Tell me your thoughts; I’d love to know. 

Karen Romano Young is a writer, artist, deep-sea diver, and polar explorer. Follow her on Twitter & Instagram