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Monday, 07 January 2008 02:43
Photography Comes to the Polar Regions--Almost
Which way did the camera go first: north or south? The Antarctic edged out her northern counterpart by only a handful of years. James Clark Ross' narrative of his 1839-43 expedition does not reveal any photographic outfit in its inventory, but one of his medical men later noted just such an apparatus for posterity. Dr. Joseph D. Hooker was lecturing about the historic expedition at the Royal Institution of South Wales in 1846 when he offered these words: I believe no instruments, however newly invented, was omitted, even down to an apparatus for daguerreotyping and talbotyping, and we left England provided with a register for every known phenomenon of nature, though certainly not qualified to cope with them all. The responsibility for any photographic ...
Sunday, 05 August 2007 03:37
A Biographical Sketch of Gen. David L. Brainard, US Army
David Legg Brainard (1856-1946) was the last survivor of the United States' Lady Franklin Bay Expedition, 1881-84. Early Years David Legg Brainard, the fifth son of Alanson and Maria Brainard, was born on his parents' farm in Norway, New York, on Dec. 21, 1856. When David was ten years old, the family moved to Freetown, New York. On Sept. 13, 1876, 19-year-old David Brainard left home to travel to Philadelphia and view America's first successful world's fair, the Centennial Exposition. After taking in many marvels of the Machine Age, Brainard boarded a train for home. At New York City, he changed trains and reached into his pocket for money to buy a ticket, but there was none. Too proud to write his family for funds...
Sunday, 05 August 2007 04:21
Historic American Arctic Explorer's Artifacts to be Auctioned in London
A historic collection of artifacts once the property of General David L. Brainard will be sold on September 21, 2007, in the rooms of London auctioneers Dix Noonan Webb. Brainard was the only survivor of the sledge party that achieved a "farthest north" record during the Lady Franklin Bay Arctic Expedition of 1881-84 (popularly known as the Greely Expedition). He was also the expedition's last survivor, passing away in 1946. Among the medals in the collection is Brainard's Explorers Medal for the "farthest north" record, and a special Explorers Club medal commemorating the fifth anniversary of Robert Peary's North Pole discovery. Also included are the General's Purple Heart, awarded in 1933 for wounds received during a battle with Sioux Indians in 1877, and his ac...
Published in News And Announcements
Monday, 16 July 2007 20:38
The US Medal of Honor in Frosty Waters: Coxswain George Willis, USS Tigress (1873)
When it was established in December 1861, the Navy Medal of Honor was only intended for enlisted men of the Navy and Marine Corps; officers would have to wait a further 54 years before being made eligible. The original provisions of the medal (the first decoration authorized by Congress to be worn on the uniform) contained a scant few words which opened the window of opportunity for it to be awarded for lifesaving at sea: '. . . which shall be bestowed upon such petty officers, seamen, landsmen and marines as shall most distinguish themselves by their gallantry in action and other seamanlike qualities . . .'[emphasis added] Over a decade passed before Congress created the Gold and Silver Lifesaving Medals on June 20, 1874. As of 1880, along wit...
Saturday, 09 June 2007 04:33
A Victory in Peace: The German Atlantic Expedition 1925-27
In order to salvage German scientific research and the specialized knowledge and experience gained from it, the German Scientific Research Aid Council was formed in 1920. The Council's task was to put public and private funds to their best possible use to this end. In 1924, Vienna-born oceanography professor Alfred Merz asserted that the ocean offered an open door of opportunity for exploration and suggested a well-planned voyage invited solutions to important problems of the deep. The president of the Council recognized an extraordinary opportunity and things rapidly moved forward. The survey vessel Meteor (with a specially trained crew) was chosen as the expedition ship, and the expanse of the South Atlantic Ocean was her target in April 1925. A strenuous arou...
Friday, 04 May 2007 01:34
800 Days Across the Top of the World: The Sedov Expedition (1937-40)
While carrying out oceanographic work in the Laptev Sea (above Siberia) in 1937, the Soviet icebreaking steamers Sedov, Sadko, and Malygin were trapped in the ice for the winter. In August 1938, the icebreaker Yermak got through to the ships (at that point drifting at latitude 83°N) and helped the Sadko and Malygin out of the ice to open sea. Unfortunately, the Sedov's steering mechanism was seriously damaged, with her rudder broken in two, as well as the sternpost supporting it. It was decided that she would be converted into a drifting research platform and a crew of 1...
Wednesday, 07 March 2007 01:23
French polar explorer: d'Urville
The French claim, with some justice, that Dumont d'Urville can rank with James Cook as the greatest navigator of them all. Like Cook, he made three voyages round the world as well as important contributions to all the sciences, most of which were then in their lusty infancy.— Helen Rosenman, translator and editor of D'Urville's accounts of South Seas voyages Jules Sébastien César Dumont d'Urville was born in Normandy in 1790, and his childhood saw the development of a keen intellect that served the makings of a future explorer. A lifelong passion for the study of languages first showed itself so early that by the age of ten d'Urville was fluent in Latin. Past voyages of discovery were also on the boy's mind and he de...
Wednesday, 07 February 2007 08:38
Attack of the Iceberg: Royal Research Ship Discovery
When the Discovery glided into the water at Dundee Dockyard on March 21, 1901, the air was crowded with the accompanying roar of cheers. The first ship built in Britain especially for exploration work was about to sail, and steam, into history. She was the principal vessel in the 1901-04 National Antarctic Expedition, at the end of which the ice sought to entomb her. The following years saw Discovery serving as a merchantman for the Hudson's Bay Company, and during the First World War as a supply ship. In 1916, she was sent south to rescue Sir Ernest Shackleton's men stranded on Elephant Island, but while at Montevideo, Uruguay, it was discovered that the Chilean naval vessel Yelcho had saved the marooned explorers. Ominous events eventually beckoned ...
Friday, 19 January 2007 08:09
Cryolophosaurus ellioti: Antarctic dinosaur
In 1991, fossils of a previously unknown dinosaur species were found at a height of 13,000 feet (4,000 meters), near the summit of Mount Kirkpatrick in Antarctica. Cryolophosaurus ellioti had awaken after a long sleep. The creature's remains were located only 400 miles (650 kilometers) from the South Pole. Studies showed that it lived 170 million years ago, when Antarctica had a climate similar to that of Pacific Northwest — mild enough to support large plant-eating animal life, upon which the Cryolophosaurus preyed. Antarctica did not get cold until 40 million years ago, and previous to this time, the Earth is believed to have been an average of 10 degrees warmer. Also, evidence tells us that the first Antarctic ice sheets appeared about 35 million yea...
Saturday, 12 August 2006 08:15
T.A.F. Feather and Scott's Antarctic Expeditions
In July 1895, the International Geographical Congress met in London, and it was decided that Antarctica would be the primary focus of new exploration. Up until this time, nobody had explored the hinterland of the frozen continent, and even the vast majority of its coastline was still unknown. The meeting touched off a flurry of activity, and soon thereafter, national expeditions from Britain, Germany and Sweden, as well as private ventures, started organizing. This is the story of Thomas A.F. Feather, who was part of the 1902-04 British National Antarctic Expedition, and who played a role in Scott's last expedition. When 31-year-old Thomas Feather was appointed Boatswain of the Discovery in May 1901, the Norfolk native and First Class Petty Officer had no idea that ...
Calendar of Events
Fri, 07 May 2010IPY Monthly Report: May 2010
Tue, 30 Mar 2010IPY Report: April 2010
Wed, 03 Mar 2010IPY Report: March 2010
Tue, 02 Feb 2010IPY Report: February 2010
Thu, 21 Jan 2010IPY Oslo Science Conference -...
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