in The Coldest Crucible

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2006 | ISBN: 9780226721842
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226721873 | DOI:

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This chapter describes the chasm between American Arctic explorers and the American scientific community, and the present status of Arctic exploration. By 1900, the Arctic explorers had cut themselves off from scientists and scholars. They made little of commerce, science, or other pursuits, and character became all-important. Even scientists who had once worked closely with explorers welcomed the end of the quest for the North Pole. The reason for this estrangement was the rise of the popular press after the American Civil War. Explorers often found it easier to attach themselves to wealthy commercial patrons than to woo the scientific community. For their part, scientists grew increasingly distrustful of explorers' claims. The rapid professionalization of American science in the late nineteenth century widened the cultural chasm between scientists and explorers, and made a rapprochement difficult. Despite the scandals that engulfed explorers in the late nineteenth century, Arctic fever still rages today.

Keywords: Arctic explorers; North Pole; Arctic exploration; American science; American Civil War

Chapter.  2611 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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