Polar Explorers

Schei.pngPer (Peder Elisæus) Schei (1875-1905)

Schei was born in Snåsa, North-Trøndelag and was the geologist on Otto Sverdrup’s 2nd Fram expedition to northwest Greenland and the islands of northeast Canada 1898-1902.

Per Schei was the son of the manager of the church farm in Snåsa. When Per was three years old the family moved to their own farm Stigemsenget in Sparbu. Ca.1884 he moved with his aunt to Denmark where he went to school before moving back to Norway to study at the University in Kristiania (Oslo). He studied mineralogy and geology and gained an excellent exam result in 1898. The previous year he had married Inga Jørgine Ulve from Tromsø and they had a son, born in Copenhagen in 1896. Even before he took his final exam, Schei was offered a job at the University Metalurgical Laboratory.  

Schei joined Otto Sverdrup's expedition as the geologist. Unfortunately he died before he could publish the detailed results of his important work, gathered on long sledge trips when he lost some toes from frostbite. He suffered from short sightedness, but became a competent dog driver. He discovered coal seams on Ellesmere Island and a volcanic rock on Axel Heiberg Island. His geological and paleontological collections were praised at a meeting of the Royal Geographical Society in London in 1903. He is said to have made the most impressive contribution by a single person to the geological understanding of this area before the use of aircraft.

On return from the expedition Schei was the main editor for the official scientific reports. He was given a scientific position at the University in Oslo and his arctic collection was so extensive and important that several European specialists were put to work to analyse and publish the data.

Unfortunately Schei died of a kidney illness in 1905, only 30 years old.

Sources:
Susan Barr: Ivar Fosheim - Storvilt, is og nytt land. Oslo 1994.
Arnt-Erik Selliaas: Polarhelten fra Snåsa. Snåsningen 21.12.2011

"Victory awaits him, who has everything in order - luck we call it.  Defeat is definitely due for him, who has neglected to take the necessary precautions - bad luck we call it"

Roald Amundsen

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