The Most Remote Workplace In The World?

Concordia Station in AntarcticaNo matter how content you may be professionally, you may at some point feel your job is too hard and demanding. Then consider what this team of medical researchers is doing: Working at the Concordia Station in Antarctica, the rotating team of 12 to 15 researchers is living in extremely harsh conditions to study how humans cope.

The Concordia researchers spend months at a time living on the base researching how humans handle temperatures 112 degrees below zero, at 3,233 meters above sea level, and with no other human settlement within 370 miles. (Concordia is also a site of geological research, among other subjects, and is located inland from the Antarctic coast shared with New Zealand.) The study of extreme environments is of course not for everyone.

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Those who do sign up for the gig are mindful of the challenges of such a profession. Writing for the science news website, Phys.org, Dr. Alex Salam, a British physician specializing in infectious diseases and extreme environments, noted that during his 13 months working in Antarctica, starting in 2009, "boredom and monotony" were the major enemy. "The darkness has a habit of sucking the motivation out of even the hardiest," he wrote.

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Since being launched in 2005 as a joint project of the French Polar Institute and the Italian Antarctic Program, the Concordia Station has hosted research projects conducted by participants from across the world, including the United States. The majority of researchers, though, hail from European institutions, according to Spaceref.com, a space news website. Their research can involve things like cardiac monitoring and live questionnaires that test the cognition of fellow crew members.

Those who have taken part in the research projects, which usually are conducted during a period from February to November, have spoken about the benefits of the working in a remote place. Enduring challenges in the workplace can bring workers together, Alexander Kumar, a British doctor specializing in extreme physiology, wrote for the BBC:

I have found our team to have grown together with humour and stories of past experiences. A natural response in any overwintering team is to develop the view that other distant people are considered as such -- as 'others' and more so 'outsiders.' They are separate and unable to truly understand the stresses of confinement, isolation and sensory deprivation experienced in overwintering, without doing so themselves.

But of course, the experience of working at Concordia itself is unique.

"There is something inherently special about the Antarctic night," wrote Salam, for Phys.org. "The heavens present a view that many stargazers can only ever dream of."

What do you think of living in such extreme conditions for the sake of a career? Share your comments below.



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Dan Fastenberg

Dan Fastenberg

Associate Editor

Dan Fastenberg was most recently a reporter with TIME Magazine. Previously, he was a writer for the Thomson Reuters news service's Latin America desk. He was also a reporter and associate editor for the Buenos Aires Herald while living in South America.

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dougm90248

I couldn\'t live anywhere that you have night for six months!

February 20 2013 at 2:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
stevemckevitt

Fascinating.
And dd you notice that one of the planes down there was a DC-3? One of the best and most sturdy planes ever made!

February 19 2013 at 11:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
toddisit

Sounds like government waste! I can tell you how humans react when it's below zero without spending a penny.

Answer: Not good!

February 19 2013 at 9:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
m&m

Looks more plush that places I hav been stationed in the artic. we had no flush toilets, no running water, only 4 buildings total, 9 military, no civilians, no mail, etc,etc.

February 19 2013 at 9:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
spunkygrits65

Two words: NOT HAPPENING!!

February 19 2013 at 9:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
m&m

I have been stationed on remote and isolated sites, Padloping Island NWT, far north of the artic circle. Also, Cartwright Air Station, Labrador, Saitozaki Air Station on a small island off the coast of Japan, etc. Some sites I have been stationed in the US, also isolated and remote, just no freezing temps, etc.

February 19 2013 at 9:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to m&m's comment
TIM

You were at Cartwright? I had the pleasure? of being a distance from Goose Bay.

February 19 2013 at 7:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bflobaz

Some think I'm nuts living in a motorhome; it being a lot less spacious than my last house on a foundation. But it has some advantages, such as not having the extra space to bring in unnecessary "stuff" which is rarely used and soon forgotten in the bowels of a larger dwelling. It is also portable and in-advance of bad weather, bye-bye!

No, I couldn't imagine that degree of darkness and cold. It was bad enough during the protracted late autumns, winters and waiting for spring (and even summer) to arrive in Buffalo, NY (2 out of every 3 days cloudly or overcast -- notwithstanding other advantages for the area) so I've fled for the southwest in the Big Bend region where Alpine, TX has the 3rd best weather on the continent. I need to see light and be able to walk around comfortably during winter and not slide around on snow and ice or have to shovel it any longer.

Having said those things about Buffalo, those living further north and into the middle of the western Canadian provinces or Alaska or the Yukon and Northwest Territories have to deal with shorter days and protracted nights and more so ... temperatures at 30 and 40 below zero degrees that make Buffalo actually be the Miami of the North.

February 19 2013 at 9:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Hubert

If you are looking for social isolation,boredom, monotony, temperature extremes,few friends and starlit nights-just become a long haul over the road CDL specialist!

February 19 2013 at 8:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
LA is Best

And I thought that the Most Remote Workplace In The World was the 0bama White House because of all of the golf in other locations!

February 19 2013 at 8:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kay.byrd13

WHO PAYS FORTHIS RESEARCH? DIDN'T LOOK TO BAD, THEY GOT GAMES.BOOKS,TOYS, AND LOOKS LIKE A LOT OF COMPANY

February 19 2013 at 8:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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