Google is honoring Fridtjof Nansen as its Google Doodle for Oct. 10, 2017, his birthday. Get to know the Norwegian explorer and scientist with five fast facts here.
1. He grew up as an athlete. As a young child, Fridtjof Nansen excelled in spots, mostly thanks to his mother, Adelaide’s athleticism. He started skiing at the age of two, and proved to be an adventurous risk taker on his skis as a young boy. Eventually, he took up skating as well, and by the age of 18, he beat the world one-mile skating record. The next year, he was victorious in the national cross-country skiing championship, which he went on to win 11 more times, as well. Aside from these competitions, Fridtjof also did cross-coutnry skiing for fun, taking endurance treks as a form of adventure.
2. He also excelled in the Sciences at school. Fridtjof attended the University of Oslo and majored in Zoology. A year into his studies, he had the opportunity to take a trip aboard a boat called the Viking to learn more about zoology in the Arctic. The trip lasted five months, and Fridtjof published his first book based on what he learned and saw on his travels down the coast of Greenland. After the expedition, he opted not to return to school, and instead, became a curator at the Bergen Museum, where he worked for the next six years. He used his studies of neuroanatomy during this time to write his thesis and get his doctorate, while also still taking time out to pursue cross-country skiing.
3. He found a way to mix his love of adventure and science. After completing his thesis, Fridtjof began planning an expedition across the icecap of Greenland. He and his party took off in June 1888, and reached their destination in October. They spent several more months living in and studying Greenland, since no boats were heading back to Norway until April of the next year. His next adventure was a journey across the arctic, which began in March 1895 on-foot. He and his partner never reached their destination, but they got further than anyone else had up until that point (140 miles). His next trip was an expedition to the North Pole. in 1895.
4. He was married twice. Fridtjof got engaged to Eva Sars on Aug. 11, 1889. Like him, she was a skiier, and she also dabbled in singing classical music. The couple’s wedding took place less than one month after the proposal. They had a two daughters, Liv and Irmelin, and two sons, Kare and Odd. While married to Eva, Fridtjof had an affair with his longtime friend, Sigrun Munthe, who he married in Jan. 1919.
5. He was incredibly successful as a scientist, politician, humanitarian & more. After his expedition to the North Pole, Fridtjof devoted himself to science, and became a professor at Royal Frederick University, as well as an established author. He also became a major advocate for Norway’s independence from Sweden, and was named Norway’s ambassador to Britain after his country’s success. He eventually became the President of the Norwegian Union for the League of Nations. He also helped save thousands of prisoners of war for the League of Nation and did immense work for the Red Cross. Sadly, he died of a heart attack in 1930.
HollywoodLifers, what were you most surprised to learn about Fridtjof?