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Fridtjof Nansen
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Explorer
    (October 10, 1861-May 13, 1930)
    Born in Christiania (Oslo), Norway
    League of Nations’ High Commissioner of Refugees (1921)
    1922 Nobel Peace Prize recipient
    Namesake of the ‘Nansen passport’ for statelessness and Nansen International Office for Refugees (1938 Nobel Peace Prize recipient)
    Crossed the Greenland icecap (July–October 1888)
    Explored the North Pole on the Fram expedition (1893–1896)
    Author of ‘Farthest North (1896, translated to English 1897)’
    Designed and assisted in the development of the Nansen bottle (cylindrical device for seawater samples, 1910)
    By the standards of others who lived in his time, he was born into privilege and experienced no real poverty issues.
    He had an extreme moustache that would eventually become a Lanny McDonald mark.
    Initially dead-set against any prospect of marriage, he took up with the daughter of a zoology professor three years older — and an expert skier and classical vocalist.
    In time, the Nansen bottle was overshadowed by other devices.
    His grave has few, if any, inscriptions.
    His family and ancestors were well-established in public service.
    Despite his wealthy background, he had a quite modest upbringing.
    He was an exceptional athlete, whether on ice or snow or land.
    With the financial blessing of private interests and the King himself, he collaborated with a shipbuilder to create the Fram (forward), an ugly vessel well-suited to the unforgiving ice floes of the Arctic.
    Aided in no small part by his role in easing tensions between the Swedes and the Nords, he gained the trust of the supremely distrustful Soviets.
    He declined an offer to act as Norwegian Prime Minister (1905) on the grounds that he was a scientist and explorer.
    Yet he accepted King Haakon’s proposal that he become Norway’s ambassador in London.

Credit: Cool It All Right?


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