The Peak Of Research

By M@ Last edited 141 months ago
The Peak Of Research

Talk about Big Science. A team of London researchers are hoping to turn Mount Everest into a giant outdoor laboratory. And they’re looking for over 200 volunteers to help with their work.

The ‘Xtreme Everest team’, headed by Dr Mike Grocott, of UCL's Institute of Human Health, want to measure how the human body copes with high altitude, low-oxygen conditions at Everest Base Camp. It’s a bit like being in hospital, apparently.

By observing healthy individuals at high altitude where oxygen is scarce, we can learn about physiological changes that can improve critical care at the hospital bedside because low oxygen levels are an almost universal problem in critical care.

According to the BBC, the team describe their new workplace as ‘the world's highest laboratory’. (Not quite true - that accolade belongs to the US-built Destiny Laboratory up in space.) If you’d like to join them, you need to be reasonably fit, be free for 3 weeks between March to May next year, and have £2395 to spare, to cover costs.

Last Updated 15 August 2006


As the space station is out of this world, how can it be the World's highest laboratory?


Ha, we could argue that one all day and both of us could claim to be correct. I'd argue that (i) the space station is well within the Earth's gravitational field and might therefore be considered part of Earth (just like an aeroplane, only higher). (ii) Legally, it is the property of the world (or, more precisely, a consortium of nations) so it's accurate in ownership terms to use the possesive "world's highest...".

I can think of several counterarguments though, so you make a reasonable point.