The original volumes from the H.M.S. Challenger Expedition were put into digitized form by Dr. David Bossard. Dr. Bossard has had a life long interest in the history of science and technology, and a particular interest in the mathematical modeling of geological and biological processes, not as an expert, but as an interested and informed amateur.
His introduction to the H.M.S. Challenger reports came about almost accidentally, as part of research into a series of talks on the subject "What is Life?" exploring the physical and chemical prerequisites for life. During preparation for one talk in this series ("The Chemical Building blocks of Life"), he became intrigued with the amazing variety of skeletal forms of the single-celled Radiolaria. This led to the discovery of Ernst Haeckel's beautiful Report on the Radiolaria, with plates showing thousands of radiolarial skeletons. The report is part of the 50-volume set of H.M.S. Challenger reports in the Dartmouth College archives.
Because of the importance and fragile condition of the reports, and the thousands of beautiful plates included in the collection, Dr. Bossard took on the task of photographing the entire set, some 30,000 pages, completed in early 2002, and is now preparing the reports for on-line access. To date about a dozen of the 81 biological reports are completed, together with an illustrated Index, to help the reader to identify and visualize the subjects represented in the report titles.
The College of Exploration´s Challenger Team thanks Dr. Bossard for his efforts in preserving these amazing documents for others to use and enjoy, and looks forward to adding additional volumes to the website.
The volumes from HMS Challenger can be found on: