Biography

Jean-Baptiste Charcot was born on June 15, 1867, in Neuillis-sur-Seine, France. His father was Jean-Martin Charcot, the notable neurologist whose work on hysteria influenced Sigmund Freud. Having received a medical education, Charcot defended his dissertation in 1895. Charcot's first marriage was to the granddaughter of Victor Hugo Jeanne, but this marriage ended during his first Antarctic Expedition. During his second marriage to Meg Clairie (1907), Charcot had three daughters—Marion, Martina, and Monica. From 1903 to 1905, Charcot participated in the French Antarctic Expedition to explore the western coast of the Antarctic peninsula. Charcot's next voyage to the Antarctic was the Second French Antarctic Expedition (1908-1910). His voyages to Antarctic seas resulted in the award of a golden medal from the Russian Geographic Society (1914) and the subsequent award of Honorable Member of the Geographic Society of the USSR. After serving in World War I, from 1920 to 1925 he worked with expeditions in the Atlantic Ocean, where the object of his interests included underwater lithology and geology. In 1925, Charcot became the knight commander of the Legion d'Honneur.

He died on September 16, 1936, in the sea near Iceland.

Alexis Burykin

Further Reading

Blond, George, La grande aventure des Oceans. Les mers froides [The Great Adventure of The Oceans. Polar Seas]. Paris: Famot, 1977 Charcot, Jean-Baptiste, Le Français au pôle Sud: journal de l'expédition antarctique française 1903-1905, Paris: Flammarion, 1906

-, La Mer du Groenland, croisières du "Pourquoi pas?"

Paris and Bruges: Desclée, de Brouwer and cie, 1929 -, The Voyage of the Pourquoi-Pas?, translated and edited by Philip Walsh, Hamden, Connecticut: Archon Books, 1978

Emmanuel, Marthe, Tel fut Charcot [Who was Charcot?], Paris: Beauchesne, 1967

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