ROYAL INSTITUTION OF GREAT BRITAIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ROYAL INSTITUTION OF GREAT BRITAIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
William Scoresby (1789-1857), English Arctic explorer. Scoresby was born at Whitby in Yorkshire. His father had made a fortune in Arctic whale fishery and after brief schooling William joined his father going to sea. In 1807 and 1809 he attended classes at Edinburgh University in natural philosophy and chemistry. In 1811 he took command of his father's ship and planned his own voyages. While searchign for whales he made many scientific obsevations. He discovered that the polar ocean was warmer at depth than at the surface, studied polar meteorology and mapped large parts of the coast of Greenland. He also made important observations of the variation of compasses in higher latitudes. In 1822, on the death of his wife, he entered the church although he continued to be interested in science. He was also active in promoting better conditions for factory workers.
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