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Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Bessels, Emil

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BESSELS, Emil, scientist, b. in Heidelberg, Germany, 2 June, 1847; d. in Stuttgart, 30 March, 1888. He was educated at the university of his native place, was made an assistant at the Royal museum of Stuttgart, and there became interested in arctic discovery. In 1869 he made the voyage with August Petermann into waters between Spitzbergen and Nova Zembla. By his observations he traced the influence of the gulf stream east of Spitzbergen, adding to the scanty knowledge of that region. He was chief of the scientific department of the “Polaris” expedition of 1870–'3, and in 1876 edited the first three volumes of scientific results of that expedition, devoted to hydrography, meteorology, and astronomy. He was also in the expedition of Dorst and Weyprecht, and edited reports of the U. S. naval institute. Dr. Bessels returned to Washington, where he prepared articles on arctic and zoological subjects, and projected a work on the Eskimo, but all his manuscripts were destroyed by fire in 1885. Soon after he sailed for his native land, where he settled in Stuttgart, occupying his time in literary pursuits, in the study of art, and in geographical instruction and lectures.