IASC 25 years - Page 66

C o nt r i b u t i o n s of Fo r m e r 03 I AS C P re s i d e nt s 3.1 The Progress of Science and International Cooperation in Arctic Science E. Fred Roots (President 1991-1993) to set at summer solstice,“ and indeed, observed that the great white bear Arctos itself roamed on the ocean. Thus, through astronomic and field observations, aspects of the character of the Arctic were confirmed, and reasonably correctly described, by Greek and Roman scholars.1 IASC has a background of a long evolution of the Subsequent scholars built on the concepts of the progressive growth of knowledge about the Arctic Arctic based on Pytheas‘ exploration. The most in- regions, and of endeavors to increase that know- fluential was Nicholas of Lynne, of England, who in ledge and to relate it to the rest of the world. CE 1360 produced a book, in Latin, “De Inventione IASC itself is a step toward continuing world-wide Fortunata—qui liber incipit a gradua 54 usque ad advancement of that knowledge. polum“ (which book describes from Latitude 54 to the Pole), which became widely known. This book is Early Concepts quoted by the influential Flemish cartographer Mer- Beginning with the Greek astronomers who, in the cator as the reference for his polar projection maps fourth century BCE, gave names to the constella- of the Arctic regions, which were revised progres- tions in the northern hemisphere sky and identi- sively from 1538 to 1595 as further explorations fied that the northernmost regions were under the added facts and detail, so that his latest map, while constellations of the bears ARCTOS, and that all retaining some imaginative mythology, is truly an the stars seemed to revolve around a fixed point, expression of international Arctic knowledge from which they called POLARIS, in the tail of the little exploration and scholarship (including acceptance bear (known in Latin as URSA MINOR), concepts of widely known myths) at the time.2 That map, about the Arctic and the Polar Regions were firmly showing four mythical islands near the North Pole embedded in the international knowledge systems but with clear Northwest and Northeast Passages of Europe. around North America and Eurasia, provided the basis for Arctic exploration, planning, and empire-build- In about 320 BCE, Pytheas made the first voyage other cartographers in the late sixteenth century along the coastal regions of the eastern North At- complied maps restricted to known discoveries (cf. lantic (perhaps west to Iceland), encountered sea eg. Barentsz 1598)3 compiled maps restricted to ice—“a mixture of land, sea, and air on which one known discoveries. Both Mercator‘s maps showing can neither walk or sail,“—noted that the hours of islands in the central Arctic Ocean, and the Barentz sunlight and darkness changed greatly with the map, which kept blank spaces where land and seas seasons as one went north until ”the Sun refused 65 00 ing for the next several centuries, even though to the Arctic for which there is a record. He travelled were unknown, served as spurs to further explora- 03 Contributions of Former IASC Presidents