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South Pole: 1940

South Pole: 1940

March 14, 1940. Washington, D.C. "Veteran Polish weather expert joins staff of Smithsonian Institution. With home, laboratory, and invaluable records of years presumably lost in the recent Polish War, Dr. Henryk Arctowski of the University of Lvov, one of Poland's foremost scientists and former Antarctic explorer, has started at the Smithsonian Institution the monumental job of determining direct effects of changes in the Sun's radiation on weather conditions on Earth. Recognized in all countries as one of the greatest living authorities on world weather, Dr. Arctowski is continuing his studies in efforts to find relationships between solar conditions and rainfall, barometric pressure, etc. His earliest meteorological observation began as a young geologist on the Antarctic exploring ship Belgica in 1897-99." Harris & Ewing glass negative. View full size.


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The reason they refer to the "Polish War" is because it's right at the end of the "Phony War" period. Poland was invaded in September of 1939, whereupon France and England, as per their treaty obligations, declared war on Germany. Aside from a few piddling bombing raids, hardly any military activity had taken place in six months. On about the 9th of May the Nazi juggernaut suddenly launched its Blitzkrieg against France, and the war was on in earnest. At this point, March of 1940, there were probably a lot of people who thought the war, such as it was, might actually already be over.


In contrast to some others, I'd believe whatever this guy says about "climate change." He looks nothing if not sincere.

Laugh lines don't lie

If you look closely at the good Dr.'s face you can see a bunch of laugh lines by his eyes.

I am thinking Dr. Arctowski would be amused by the comments his picture provoked on this site.


"You want MORE?"

Solar Scientist

It appears that Dr. Henryk Arctowski is as equally recognized for his study of solar physics as for the radiation balance of the earth's atmosphere: NAS Arctowski Medal.

A cropped version of this photo appeared in the Washington Post the following day: May 15, 1940. The caption reads:

His home, laboratory and invaluable records presumably lost in the war, Dr. Henryke Arctowski, one of Poland's leading scientists, is starting a monumental job at the Smithsonian Institution. He will determine direct effects of changes in the sun's radiation on the weather conditions on earth. Dr. Arctowski's earliest meteorological observations began when he was a young geologist on the Antarctic exploring ship, Belgica in 1897-1899.

Another biography provides an earlier portrait:

Charts and graphs

And he did it without a computer.

And now the "before" version

This undated portrait on the Arctowski base station's website depicts Henryck during the "Belgica" expedition (conducted in the late 19th century). Shortly afterwards, he married Rockford-born opera singer Arian Jane Addy, perhaps because of his resemblance to Wagnerian Ring character Siegfried.

The Belgica expedition

One of Dr. Arctowski's shipmates was the legendary polar explorer Roald Amundsen. The Belgica expedition was notable for being the first to winter in Antarctica.

A glance at the Doctor's eyes can tell you he did not easily abide nonsense.

A Pole apart

Shouldn't that be Antarctowski?

The Polish War

How quaint that we could still at that time refer to the war as something confined to faraway Poland.

I hope some of Dr. Arctowski's relatives survived.

The Polish Antarctic base is named after him

A short biography is here

and details of the Polish Antarctic base here

and there is a Mount Arctowski in Spitzbergen.

Begs to be Farked

No disrespect to Dr. A., mind you, but this one is too good to pass up!

Mad Scientist

Back in the day Scientists were more interesting to look at: crazy hair, scraggly beards, and disheveled clothes.

I want to see more of his rings!


"Veteran Polish weather expert joins staff of Smithsonian Institution...." At first, I thought this was a misplaced April Fool's joke. Then, I realized that Dr. Arctowski is in fact, the real thing and almost certainly completely out of his mind.

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