Leif Størmer

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Leif Størmer
Størmer in 1933
Born(1905-07-01)July 1, 1905
DiedMay 15, 1979(1979-05-15) (aged 73)
Alma materUniversity of Oslo
Spouse(s)Ingegerd Wiborg Alten
AwardsOrder of St. Olav, Defence Medal 1940–1945, Reusch Medal, Nansen Award

Leif Størmer (1 July 1905 – 15 May 1979) was a Norwegian paleontologist and geologist. He was professor of historical geology at the University of Oslo from 1946 to 1975. His father was the famous mathematician Carl Størmer. His son is the known mathematician Erling Størmer.

Early life and education[edit]

Størmer was born in Kristiania (now Oslo) to Fredrik Carl Mülertz Størmer (1874–1957) and Adelaide Clauson (1877–1973).[1] His brother Per Størmer (1907–1991) became a botanist.[2][3] His sister Henny married landowner Carl Otto Løvenskiold.[4]

Leif Størmer attended school in Kristiania, and became interested in paleontology and geology. In 1923, he took his examen artium, and studied thereafter at the University of Oslo. He graduated with the cand.mag. degree in 1928, then the dr.philos. degree in 1931. In 1931–32, Størmer resided in the United States with a Rockefeller Foundation grant. On 23 May 1932, he married Ingegerd ("Tutti") Wiborg Alten (1912–2009) in New York.[1]


In 1930, Størmer was employed as a conservator vicar at the Museum of Paleontology in Oslo. One year later, he took his dissertation Skandinaviske Trinucleidae, which introduced numerous publications on the construction, nature and development of the trilobite. From 1932 to 1937, he was a research fellow, thereupon assistant, and in 1940 conservator at the Museum of Paleontology.[1] From 1940 to 1941 he chaired the Geological Society of Norway.[5] During the Second World War, Størmer participated in the Norwegian resistance movement as a treasurer for Milorg.[1]

In 1946, he was appointed professor of historical geology at the University of Oslo. From 1957 to 1959, he was dean at the university's Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. Størmer authored about 70 publications on paleontology and geology in his life. He also wrote a few popular science articles for different Norwegian magazines.[1] In 1940, he became a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.[2] Størmer was concerned about communicating his knowledge in a popular scientific way. He was one amongst three editors of the fourth edition of the popular encyclopedia Aschehougs konversasjonsleksikon and published in 1966 a textbook titled Jorden og livets historie ("The History of the Earth and Life").[1]

Størmer also had positions in several Norwegian and international organisations in science after the war. He was notably a board member of the International Paleontological Union and of the International Geological Union.[1] From 1960 to 1965, he headed the International Stratigraphy Commission.[2] He participated in Statens lønnskommisjon av 1946 ("The State's Wage Commission of 1946") and in the committee that prepared the Norwegian law of nature conservation (1956).[1] He was also involved in the insurance business as a supervisory council member of Forsikringsselskapet Norden.[6]

In 1961, he was decorated as Knight, First Class of the Order of St. Olav. He also received the Reusch Medal (1937), the Bergen Price (1945) and the Fridtjof Nansen Price (1965).[1] He died in May 1979 in Oslo, aged 73.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Heintz, Natascha (2004). "Leif Størmer". In Helle, Knut. Norsk biografisk leksikon (in Norwegian). 8 (2nd ed.). Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  2. ^ a b c Godal, Anne Marit, ed. (2009). "Leif Størmer". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  3. ^ Godal, Anne Marit, ed. (2009). "Per Størmer". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  4. ^ Steenstrup, Bjørn, ed. (1948). "Løvenskiold, Carl Otto". Hvem er hvem? (in Norwegian). Oslo: Aschehoug. p. 344. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
  5. ^ Steenstrup, Bjørn, ed. (1948). "Størmer, Leif". Hvem er hvem? (in Norwegian). Oslo: Aschehoug. p. 513. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  6. ^ "Overskudd på 3,2 mill. i Norden". Aftenposten. 3 June 1970. p. 14.
Academic offices
Preceded by
Dean of Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, University of Oslo
Succeeded by