Edward W Nelson

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Nelson testing thermometers during the Terra Nova Expedition in 1911

Edward W Nelson (1883–1923) was an invertebrate zoologist and polar explorer. He worked at the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom (MBA) in Plymouth and in 1910, in association with E. J. Allen, developed a simple method for culturing phytoplankton.

Polar expedition[edit]

In 1910, he joined the British Antarctic Expedition (popularly known as "The Terra Nova Expedition") led by Robert Falcon Scott, and served as a biologist. He took part in a sledging journey to "One Ton Depot", carrying food supplies for the returning polar party. He also conducted tidal observations while at Cape Evans and was later awarded the Polar Medal. He has been commemorated with "Nelson Cliff" at the west side of the Simpson Glacier (71°14′S, 168°42′E).

Later career[edit]

On his return from the Antarctic, Nelson worked as Senior Naturalist at the laboratory in Plymouth, taking leave to fight with the British 63rd (Royal Naval) Division in the Gallipoli campaign, then later in the trenches of France. In 1920 the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food approached the MBA to propose that the Association undertake the manufacture of a large number of "Drift Bottles", to be used in tracking the movement of the waters of the North Sea. By this time, Nelson was the Scientific Superintendent of the "Fisheries Board for Scotland", and wrote a paper on the manufacture of the drift bottles for the Association's Journal. He committed suicide by lethal injection in 1923 when he was only 39. An inquest into his death was reported in The Times newspaper.[clarification needed]

Sources and further reading[edit]