Fridtjof Nansen

Norwegian polar explorer and diplomat; Nobel Peace Prize laureate (1861-1930)

Fridtjof Nansen (10 October 1861 – 13 May 1930) was a Norwegian explorer, scientist, diplomat, humanitarian, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate. In his youth he was a champion skier and ice skater. He won international fame after reaching a record northern latitude of 86°14′ during his North Pole expedition of 1893–96.

Fridtjof Nansen (1890)
A bust of Fridtjof Nansen, Yerevan


  • The history of the human race is a continual struggle from darkness towards light. It is, therefore, to no purpose to discuss the use of knowledge; man wants to know, and when he ceases to do so, he is no longer man.
  • It is better to go skiing and think of God, than to go to church and think of sport.
    • Quoted in The New Yorker 86: p. 56. 15 March 2010. 
  • Let me tell you the secret of such so-called successes as there have been in my life, and here I believe I give you really good advice. It was to burn my boats and demolish my bridges behind me. Then one loses no time in looking behind, when one should have quite enough to do in looking ahead...
    • Rectorial address delivered at St. Andrews University, 3 November 1926. Translated in Nansen, Fridtjof (1927). Adventure, and other papers. Books for Libraries Press. p. 27.