Name: Gavin Francis, MD
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
Specialty: General Practitioner, Emergency Medicine
Dr. Gavin Francis is a general practitioner based in Edinburgh Scotland. He’s also a prolific traveler and an incredibly talented writer.
Today we’re going the explore the 15 months Gavin served as the sole physician at Halley, the British research station in Antarctica. Gavin was it. With no medical team, no back up and pretty limited equipment, Gavin had to be ready for any medical emergency, large or small. During the winter months, Halley is completely cut off from the rest of the world. Ships can’t enter, planes can’t land and you won’t see the sun until spring. It’s hard to imagine being farther off the grid than this. Even the international space station has a Soyuz spacecraft ready for an emergency escape.
His book, “Empire Antarctica” is an account of those 15 months spent at Halley. It’s a fascinating story, and a beautifully written book for which he received the prestigious Scottish national book award.
We all know plenty of doctors who also write. After reading his book, you may find that Gavin is a writer, who also practices medicine. Either way it was a real privilege to have him on. With that said, let’s get started….
Links and more:
Halley Research Station:
Gavin’s Ted Talk:
Gavin’s Peer Reviewed Articles:
Sleep during the Antarctic winter: preliminary observations on changing the spectral composition of artificial light:
Sleep and circadian phase in a ship’s crew: