Nansen, Fridtiof (1861-1930), a Norwegian Arctic explorer, scientist, and statesman. Nansen was the first to cross Greenland and came closer to the North Pole than any previous explorer. After World War I he helped resettle prisoners of war and refugees and organized the transport of food supplies to millions of starving Russians. For these contributions Nansen received the 1922 Nobel Peace Prize.

Nansen was born near Christiania (now Oslo). At the University of Christiania he specialized in zoology. In 1882 he made his first voyage into the Arctic Ocean, to study seals and other animals. On his return Nansen became curator of the zoological collection at a Bergen museum. He continued his studies and received his doctorate in 1888.

In 1888 Nansen led the first expedition across Greenland, traveling on skis from the east to the west coast. Nansen then became curator of zoology at a museum of the University of Christiania, later (1897) becoming a professor at the university.

Nansen's expedition of 1893-96 explored new arctic regions. With the Fram ("forward"), a ship designed to withstand the crush of polar ice, Nansen hoped to be the first to reach the North Pole. After reaching latitude 83