Crary Science & Engineering Center

McMurdo Station

Symbolically numbered ‘Building 1,’ this center, usually called the ‘Crary Lab,’ is named for Albert P Crary, a geophysicist and glaciologist who was the first person to visit both the North and South Poles. The 4320-sq-meter building, completed in 1991, houses work space for biological studies, earth science and atmospheric science. The equipment is state of the art, with facilities as good as those found at major research universities.

It’s a bit disconcerting to go straight from a penguin rookery to a place where scientists have digital key-cards to their offices, but, then again, this is the Big City!

The Crary Lab also has a darkroom, freezers for processing ice cores, an electronics workshop, a seismic observatory that monitors Mt Erebus, and a library. There are three types of meteorites on display in the Crary Lab, while three large aquariums offer the rare chance to see Antarctic marine life without having to scuba dive beneath the sea ice. Depending on what biologists have collected recently, you might get to look at Antarctic krill, starfish, isopods, sea spiders or even some of the big Antarctic cod, with their unique ‘antifreeze’ blood.