NANSEN, Futur.my (181;1—). A Norwegian Arctie explorer and naturalist, born near Christiania. Norway. Ile was educated in the university of his native city, and was trained as a zo6logist. In his twenty-lirst year he under took a trip to East Greenland waters for zo6lopi cal specimens; the same year he was appointed curator in the Natural History Iiisetini at Ber gen. lle liceame known to the world as the first man to cross the ice cap of Greenland, an adven turous journey from the cast to the west coast, undertaken in ISSsl, which he described in two volumes, The First Crossing of Bmia1.,ncl (1890). Ile the winter of 1S85 89 :oaring the West Greenland which resulled in a volume on L'skimo Life (1893). After his return to Nor way he was appointed CDlatOr ill the Nlusenin of Comparative Anatomy at the Christiania Uni versity. From his twenty third year he was con stantly planning for the great journey into the polar regions. upon which he did not embark till nine years later. Ile had unusual natural and acquired qualifications for the work. and Iris winter attiring the Eskimos was of inestimable value to him in his later experiences.
Nansen inferred, partly from the appearance in Greenland of a pair of trousers which had been left upon the ice south of Siberia when the Jeannette was abandoned, partly from the pres ence in Greenland of driftwood from Siberia, and partly from the experience of other explorers, that a ship driven with the ice by prevailing winds might drift from above Siberia across the pole. The weight of Arctic authority (lid not support this plan; nevertheless, with the as sistance of the Government and private citi zens Nansen built and equipped the Arctic exploring vessel From (Forward). left Norway in 1893, skirted the north coasts of Europe and Asia, put into the polar pack ice near the New Siberia Islands on September 22, 1893. and drifted northwest till March 14, 1895. On that day, with a single companion. Lieutenant Johansen.
he left the From frozen in the pack and started toward the Pole with dog sledges. On April 7, 1895, he reached latitude S6° 4' N., within 272 statute miles of the North Pole, and 184 miles nearer to it than any man had ever been before him. Further progress was impossible. and he retreated to Franz Josef Land, where he and Johansen spent the winter in a snow hut. living on Arctic game. In the spring they started southward for Spitzbergen, but fortu nately found the winter camp of the Harms worth expedition under Jackson, and returned home on the ship of that party in the summer of 1896. Meanwhile the From drifted around to the north of the Franz Josef Land Archipelago, reaching the latitude of S3° 57', then blasted her way southward to open water, and reached the coast of Europe within a week of Nansen's arrival there. The scientific results of the expe dition were very great. and were published in a series of reports. Nansen also wrote Farthest Yorth. a popular description of the expedition. Ills achievements were recognized by many geo graphical societies, which conferred their highest honors limn] the explorer. He made extensive lecture lours in Europe and the *United States.
Nansen failed to find any form of life above the 84th parallel. his discovery of a wide silt of oceanic depth. north of the New Siberia Islands, overthrew the theory of the prevailing shallowness of the Arctic Ocean. lle found that. owing to the predominance of water in the far North. the temperatures there were higher than along the north coast of Asia. lle discovered no land except a few little islands near the Asian eoast; and the free movement of the ire masses driven. as Nanscn observed. by the winds in every direction. has led geographers to con clude that there is no large ]and near the North Pole. See POLAR RESEARCH.