Norway

The Short but Influential Life of Niels Henrik Abel

The Short but Influential Life of Niels Henrik Abel

On April 6, 1829, Norwegian mathematician Niels Henrik Abel passed away. Abel is well known in mathematics for proving the impossibility of solving the quintic equation by radicals. In parallel to Évariste Galois – who also died very young – , he laid the foundations of group theory.[8] Nils Henrik Abel was born into a family of educated people. His father, for instance earned himself a degree in theology and philosophy and…
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Carl Størmer and the Aurorae

Carl Størmer and the Aurorae

On September 3, 1874, Norwegian mathematician and geophysicist Carl Størmer was born. Carl Størmer is known both for his work in number theory and for studying the movement of charged particles in the magnetosphere and the formation of aurorae. He also contributed both important photographic observations and mathematical data to the understanding of the polar aurora, of stratospheric and mesospheric clouds, and of the structure of the ionosphere. The discovery of the Van Allen…
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Vilhelm Bjerknes – A Pioneer of Modern Weatherforecast

Vilhelm Bjerknes – A Pioneer of Modern Weatherforecast

On March 14, 1862, Norwegian physicist and meteorologist Vilhelm Bjerknes was born, Bjerknes is best known for being one of the founders of the modern science of weather forecasting with his 1921 published work “On the Dynamics of the Circular Vortex with Applications to the Atmosphere and to Atmospheric Vortex and Wave Motion“. Vilhelm Frimann Koren Bjerknes was born in Kristiania (later renamed Oslo), Norway, and enjoyed an early exposure to fluid dynamics,…
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Victor Moritz Goldschmidt and the Origins of Geochemistry

Victor Moritz Goldschmidt and the Origins of Geochemistry

On January 27, 1888, Swiss-Norwegian geochemist, mineralogist and petrologist Victor Moritz Goldschmidt was born. Goldschmidt is considered (together with Vladimir Vernadsky) to be the founder of modern geochemistry and crystal chemistry, as well as the developer of the Goldschmidt Classification of elements. Goldschmidt was born in Zürich, Switzerland, into a family of Jewish parents, Heinrich Jacob Goldschmidt, a distinguished physical chemist, who held professorships at Amsterdam, Heidelberg, and Oslo, and Amelie Koehne.…
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Lars Onsager and Irreversible Chemical Processes

Lars Onsager and Irreversible Chemical Processes

On November 27, 1903, Norwegian-born American physical chemist and theoretical physicist Lars Onsager was born. The development of a general theory of irreversible chemical processes gained him the 1968 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. These Onsager reciprocal relations have importance in a wide range of applications. Lars Onsager was born in Kristiania (today’s Oslo), Norway, to Erling Onsager, a Barrister of the Supreme Court of Norway, and Ingrid, née Kirkeby. After completing secondary…
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The Expeditions of Fridtjof Nansen

The Expeditions of Fridtjof Nansen

On October 10, 1861, Norwegian explorer, scientist, diplomat, humanitarian and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Fridtjof Nansen was born. Nansen led the team that made the first crossing of the Greenland interior in 1888, cross-country skiing on the island, and won international fame after reaching a record northern latitude of 86°14′ during his North Pole expedition of 1893–96. Although he retired from exploration after his return to Norway, his techniques of polar travel…
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Edvard Munch and the Munch Affair

Edvard Munch and the Munch Affair

On November 5, 1892, Norwegian painter and printmaker Edvard Munch evoked bitter controversy with his exhibition on behalf of the Union of Berlin Artists. Even though the exhibition was closed after only one week, the scandal made Munch highly famous. The event became later known as the ‘Munch Affair’. Edvard Munch was born on December 12, 1863 and grew up in Oslo. His family often faced hard times due to the fatal…
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Amundsen’s South Pole Expedition

Amundsen’s South Pole Expedition

Roald Amundsen and his crew looking at the Norwegian flag at the South Pole, 1911 On December 14, 1911, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen and his expedition were the first to reach the geographic south pole, only five weeks ahead of a British party led by Robert Falcon Scott. Already during his childhood, Roald Amundsen was interested in the stories of discoverer and explorers. Especially travels to the polar regions fascinated him so…
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Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki

Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki

On April 28, 1947, Norwegian ethnographer and adventurer Thor Heyerdahl and five crew mates set out from Peru on the self-built raft Kon-Tiki to prove that Peruvian natives could have settled Polynesia. With Kon-Tiki, Heyerdahl sailed 8,000 km across the Pacific Ocean in a self-built raft from South America to the Tuamotu Islands to demonstrate that ancient people could have made long sea voyages, creating contacts between apparently separate culture. Thor Heyerdahl…
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