Hans Pettersson

Prof Hans Petterson FRSFor HFRSE RSAS (18881966) was a 20th century Swedish physicist and oceanographer.[2][3][4][5]

Hans Pettersson
Hans Pettersson around 1939
Born(1888-08-26)26 August 1888
Died25 January 1966(1966-01-25) (aged 77)
Alma materInstitute for Radium Research, Vienna
AwardsFellow of the Royal Society (1956)[1]
Member of Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Early life

Hans Petterson was born in Forshalla near Gothenburg on 26 August 1888, the son of the chemist and oceanographer Otto Pettersson (1848-1941).[2] Hans Petterson studied Sciences at Uppsala University, graduating in 1909.[6]

He then studied atomic physics as a postgraduate at the Institute for Radium Research, Vienna.


Petterson's first publication from 1910 was on the issue of radium.

In 1913 he joined the staff of the Swedish Hydrographic-Biologocal Commission. In 1914 he began lecturing in Oceanography at Gothenburg University.

He later brought this knowledge to the field of oceanography, and with the help of radium he could determine the age of sediment samples from the bottom of the sea. Pettersson became the first full professor of oceanography in Sweden and in 1938 founded the Institute of Oceanography in Gothenburg, thanks to funding from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation. Pettersson was its head until 1956. He also was the head of the Bornö Hydrographic Field Station on Stora Bornö.

In 1956, aged 68, he became Professor of Geophysics at the University of Hawaii.

Petterson also wrote many popular scientific texts which helped disseminate progress in oceanography to the general audience. In July 1947, the Albatross expedition started its around the world voyage with Pettersson as leader of the expedition. This expedition was planned by him, and was financed by private sponsors.

He died in Gothenburg on 25 January 1966.


  • Westward Ho with the Albatross (1953)

Awards and honours


  1. Deacon, G. E. R. (1966). "Hans Pettersson 1888-1966". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 12: 405–426. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1966.0019.
  2. Rentetzi, Maria (March 25, 2003). Gender, Politics, and Radioactivity Research in Vienna, 1910-1938 (Dissertation) (PDF). Blacksburg, Virginia: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
  3. Artur Svansson (2006). Otto Pettersson; oceanografen, kemisten, uppfinnaren. ISBN 91-7029-604-9.
  4. Nationalencyklopedin
  5. Sveriges dödbok 1947-2006, (CD-ROM), Sveriges Släktforskarförbund
  6. Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 0 902 198 84 X.
  7. Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 0 902 198 84 X.
  8. Kungl. Vetenskapsakademiens årsbok 1961, ISSN 0373-8272, p. 6.
  9. "List of Past Gold Medal Winners" (PDF). Royal Geographical Society. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.