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.

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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