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Technology   >     17-12-2017 - Sunday

  • Google celebrates adventurer and humanitarian Fridtjof Nansen's 156th birthday with a doodle

If you visit Google's website today, you will come across a doodle that celebrates adventurer Fridtjof Nansen's 156th birthday. Nansen is known as the first person to lead an expedition across the snow-capped interior of Greenland in 1888, pioneering exploration of an unknown terrain, as well as his work for refugees during his time.

The Google doodle today shows a sketch of Nansen along with a motion sketch of him on skis as he is also remembered for learning how to cross-country ski for as much as 50 miles in one day on minimum supplies. He was born in 1861 in Oslo, Norway and his love for outdoors while growing up led him to take up zoology at the Royal Frederick University 20 years later in 1881.

Following the 1888 expedition, Nansen attempted to become the first person to reach the North Pole, which sadly went unsuccessful. However, Nansen did manage to travel farther north in latitude than any explorer at the time.

Nansen began focusing more on his research at home after World War I in 1914, which forced him to curb his explorations. A few years later, he would become more politically inclined, working to free around half a million prisoners of war and repatriate refugees. His work led him to create a document that was known as the Nansen Passport (also shown in today's doodle) that allowed stateless refugees to cross borders legally and resettle.

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His efforts in helping refugees relocate, his work for the repatriation of the prisoners of war, and his work to bring succour to millions of Russian affected by famine, among other humanitarian work led him to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 1922.

"Fridtjof Nansen began his career by shattering the boundaries of human exploration, and he brought the same courage and tenacity to his fight to support refugees," Google's blog post reads.

Nansen died at home of a heart attack on May 13, 1930. He is remembered today as one of Norway's leading skiers, his expertise in Greenland and Fram expeditions, as well as his recognition as one of the founders of modern neurology, among other things. You can read more about Nansen's life and work by tapping on the Google Doodle today.

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