Henryk Arctowski 1871-1958
Pioneer of research on Antarctica and the climate change

Henryk Arctowski 1871-1958
Played a key role in restoring Polish independence


Henryk Arctowski in Antarctica, 1898

Henryk Arctowski

Henryk Arctowski was in charge of scientific observations on the Belgian Antarctic Expedition (1897-1899), the aim of which was to explore the last uncharted continent - Antarctica.

The members of the Expedition provided the first pictures of Antarctica, they made the first geographical and meteorological measurements and added newly discovered territories to the map of the continent. The material collected by Arctowski and his team of scientists was priceless. Every day, for over a year, they have written detailed notes that provided the grounds for further development of meteorology and oceanography. Their photographs published in the press all over the world were a proof that Antarctica really existed. After his return from the expedition, Arctowski became the head of the meteorological station in Uccle, Belgium. He studied the impact of volcanos and magnetic storms on the climate change. In 1910, he took part in a scientific expedition to Spitsbergen.

Arctowski in the office, Lwów, 1930s

When World War I broke out, he was in the USA. At the request of president Wilson, he prepared a "Report on Poland, compiled for the use of the American Delegation to the Peace Conference", which consisted of over 2500 pages of text and 100 maps, and became a basis for designing the future borders of Poland. As an expert from the American delegation, Arctowski took part in the Versailles Peace Conference. He refused to accept a position in the government of Ignacy Paderewski and instead, he focused on the academic work at the University of Lviv, where he founded the Institute of Geophysics and Meteorology.

When World War II started in September 1939, he was in the USA again. He got employed as a professor at the Smithsonian Institution. He died in Washington in 1958. He was an author of over 400 scientific publications.


Dive into the mind of the explorer. Go through the notes, journal and letters of Henryk Arctowski.
Look behind the scenes of great diplomacy and discover the documents that restored Poland on the map of the world (original materials in Polish, French or English).

Climate change in Antarctica


Restoration of Polish independence