Lectures & Literary past

The Ice at the End of the World Book Talk With Jon Gertner


WED—October 16—7 PM, free

Tonight, Jon Gertner discusses his new book The Ice at the End of the World, which examines how for the last 150 years explorers and scientists have sought to understand Greenland, first in hopes that it would serve as a gateway to the North Pole, and later in discovery of essential information about our climate. In addition to what Greenland’s ice tells us about where we’ve been, it tells us more urgently where we are headed.

The history of Greenland’s ice begins with the explorers who arrived here at the turn of the twentieth century, embarking on lengthy and grueling expeditions that often ended in tragedy. Those efforts gave way to scientists who built encampments on the ice to begin drilling. Today, scientists from all over the world are deploying every technological tool available to uncover the secrets of this frozen island before it’s too late.


In this account of the explorers and scientists racing to understand the rapidly melting ice sheet in Greenland, Gertner chronicles the hardships, discoveries, and scientific achievements of the Arctic’s explorers and researchers. He also explores the implications of climate change: the melting ice sheet in Greenland contains the past. and reflects the present, but can also tell us how much time we have left.

Following the discussion, books will be available for purchase and signing.

“Fascinating and encyclopedic . . . with prose so lucid it’s easy to overlook its elegance . . . Gertner manages a magic trick, transforming his hybrid book from one of physical to intellectual adventure.”—The New York Times Book Review

About the Author

Jon Gertner is a journalist and historian whose stories on science, technology, and nature have appeared in a host of national magazines. Since 2003 he has worked mainly as a feature writer for The New York Times Magazine.

His first book, The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation, was a New York Times bestseller. A frequent lecturer on technology and science history, Gertner lives with his family in New Jersey.