Polar Explorer Henryk Arctowski

Has a Cold Place in History

Has a Cold Place in History

Henryk Arctowski (1871-1958) was a Polish geologist, geographer, traveller and polar explorer. In the years 1911-1919 he was head of the natural sciences department at the New York Public Library. Arctowski was a professor at the University of Lviv (1921-1939) and at the Smithsonian in Washington (1939-1950). From 1897 to 1899 he was an organiser and academic head of the Belgian Antarctic Expedition on the Belgica under the command of A. Gerlach de Gomery with the partcipation of A. Dobrowolski and R. Amundsen. During the expedition he conducted research in the fields of oceanography, meteorology, glaciology, and geology. Arctowski was the first person to put forward the Antarktand hypothesis stating that there is an analogy in geological formation of the Andes and elevations on Graham Land. He also worked out the theory of the periodic motion of cyclones. The scientist created the bathymetric map of part of the Antarctic seas. He published his research results in Resultats de voyage de “Belgica” (1903-1913). From 1903 to 1909 he managed the weather station at the Observatoire Royal de Belgique in Uccle. In 1910 he took part in the French polar expedition to Spitsbergen and the Lofoten Islands. Arctowski drew maps and wrote a memorandum concerning the independence of Poland for an American delegation going to the peace conference in Versailles. In 1935 he became a member of the Polish Academy of Learning. He lived in Washington from 1939. He published more than 400 research papers, among others, Rapport preliminaire sur les sondages de la “Belgica, and The Bathimetrical Conditions of the Antarctic Regions. The following geographical features were named after Henryk Arctowski: a glacier and a mountain in Spitsbergen, a peninsula, a peak and a nunatak in Antarctica, and the Polish research station on the South Shetland Islands.

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