“Jon Gertner takes readers to spots few journalists or even explorers have visited. The result is a gripping and important book.”—Elizabeth Kolbert, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Sixth Extinction

In The Ice at the End of the World, Jon Gertner explains how Greenland has evolved from one of earth’s last frontiers to its largest scientific laboratory.

The history of Greenland’s ice begins with the explorers who arrived here at the turn of the twentieth century—first on foot, then on skis, then on crude, motorized sleds... their efforts eventually gave way to scientists who built lonely encampments out on the ice and began drilling—one mile, two miles down. Their aim was to pull up ice cores that could reveal the deepest mysteries of earth’s past, going back hundreds of thousands of years.

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In The Idea Factory, Jon Gertner traces the origins of some of the twentieth century’s most important inventions and delivers a riveting and heretofore untold chapter of American history.

The definitive history of America’s greatest incubator of innovation and the birthplace of some of the 20th century’s most influential technologies.

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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.

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Other Writing

The Secret Is Out: Penguins Are Promiscuous Too

Nov 9, 2019

A new book offers an insightful history of fieldwork in Antarctica—and a glimpse into the secret (and hidden) lives of penguins.

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The New York Times Book Review

Reverse Engineering the Climate Crisis

Nov 9, 2019

To achieve net zero carbon emissions by the midpoint of the current century, we will need to buy ourselves time. We can’t just stop putting CO2 into the air. We will also need to remove some of the carbon dioxide we’ve already released.

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Audubon Magazine, Fall 2019

In Greenland’s Melting Ice, a Warning on Hard Climate Choices

Jun 27, 2019

Greenland is melting at an unprecedented rate, causing vast quantities of ice to disappear and global sea levels to rise. The fate of the ice sheet is not sealed, but unless CO2 emissions are sharply cut, the long-term existence of Greenland’s ice is in doubt.

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Yale Environment 360