Lauge Koch

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Lauge Koch

Lauge Koch (1892–1964) was a Danish geologist and Arctic explorer.

He was the renowned leader of 24 Danish government expeditions to Greenland,[1] and the central character in the Lauge Koch Controversy, an international and intra-national conflict. Beginning in December 1935 a bitter conflict arose between Koch and eleven of the most prominent Danish geologists of the day, including O. B. Bøggild, director of The Mineralogical Museum and professor at the Geological Institute of Copenhagen University, and Victor Madsen, head of the Geological Survey of Denmark.

Controversy started with a review of the Lauge Koch book Geologie von Grönland (1935) written by ‘the eleven’ and accusing Koch of poor and improper scientific practice.[2][3] Relating to the years 1921–23 in which Lauge Koch conducted the Bicentenary Jubilee Expedition to North Greenland in the year of the bicentennial jubilee of Hans Egede's landing in Greenland, Koch made a sledge journey along the north coast of Greenland, round Peary Land and back across the Inland Ice. On this journey Koch discovered a depression which in his opinion was the one that Robert Peary in 1892 had mistaken for a channel. Koch's observations of the interior of Independence Bay led to considerable cartographic changes compared with the Peter Freuchen map of 1912.[4]

In 1938, Lauge Koch found in the mountains west of Jameson Land, near Scoresby Sound, the skeleton of a huge extinct mammal similar to the head of a gigantic animal with huge teeth found by Professor Selim Hassan in 1935 near the pyramid of Chephren in South America. The skeleton found by Koch was displayed at the museum in Copenhagen.[5]

Amongst his other contributions to the sciences, in the mid-1930s Koch established a network of field stations and traveling huts in Central East Greenland. This establishment of a permanent infrastructure in the field caused a change in the whole culture and organization of Danish Arctic exploration.[6]

The mineral kochite which is found in Mt Hvide Ryg, Werner Bjerge, and the former Greenland county of Tunu was named for Koch in honor of his explorations in the same areas.[7][8][9]

Honors[edit]

Koch was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from the American Geographical Society in 1924, and its Daly Medal in 1930.[10] In 1949 he was awarded the Mary Clark Thompson Medal from the National Academy of Sciences.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Lauge Koch (1892-1964)" (web and PDF). Obituary. The Arctic Institute of North America. Retrieved 2008-01-05. 
  2. ^ Christopher Jacob Ries, Roskilde University (2007). "The Lauge Koch Controversy: International Cooperation and intra-national onflict in Danish arctic research 1930-1940" (web). Ideologies and Controversies in 20th Century Scientific Exploration. Steno Institute. Retrieved 2008-01-05. 
  3. ^ Michael Bravo, Sverker Sörlin (2002). Narrating the Arctic: A Cultural History of Nordic Scientific. Science History Publications/USA. pp. Page 197. ISBN 0-88135-385-X. 
  4. ^ The Bi-centennary (sic) Jubilee Expedition 1920-23 at eng.jubie
  5. ^ Wilkins, Harold T. (1998). Secret Cities of Old South America. Adventures Unlimited Press. pp. page 326. ISBN 0-932813-55-0. 
  6. ^ Christopher J. Ries, Roskilde University, Denmark. "Cartography, authority and credibility". Field Study. fieldstudies.dk. Retrieved 2008-01-05. 
  7. ^ Kochite Mineral Data
  8. ^ Kochite
  9. ^ Kochite from Mt Hvide Ryg (north slope), Werner Bjerge, Tunu (East Greenland) Province, Greenland
  10. ^ "American Geographical Society Honorary Fellowships". amergeog.org. Retrieved 2009-03-02. 
  11. ^ "Mary Clark Thompson Medal". National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 15 February 2011.