Otto Nordenskjöld 1905-1928
In 1905 Otto Nordenskjöld (born 1869 in Sjögelö outside Mariannelund, Småland) was appointed as the first professor in geography. Otto Nordenskjöld was a nephew of Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld, who led the famous Vega expedition in 1878-1880 that found and sailed through the entire Northeast Passage sea route. Otto Nordenskjöld was a geologist, geographer and explorer. He received his doctorate in 1894 at Uppsala University. The title of his thesis is ‘Über archäische Ergussgesteine aus Småland’ (About Archean effusive rocks from Småland).
Like his uncle A. E. Nordenskiöld, Otto Nordenskjöld led several polar expeditions to the northern hemisphere (Alaska in 1889 and Greenland in 1909), but also to the southern hemisphere (Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego in 1885-1897 and Antarctic in 1901-1903). During his expedition to Antarctica, his team was split, and one group had to overwinter in difficult circumstances. After several hardships, the team was reunited, and upon their return Nordenskjöld received much fame both for surviving the difficult conditions of a harsh Antarctic winter without adequate supplies but also for his findings of animal and plant fossils that threw new light on Antarctica's developmental history and contributed to the theory of continental drift. Nordenskjöld initiated the School of Economics in Gothenburg, which was founded in 1923, and he became its first Vice Chancellor. He also established the Geographical Society of Gothenburg (Geografiska föreningen i Göteborg) in 1908, which is still active today. Nordenskjöld held the professorship in geography until 1928 when he was killed by a bus near his home in Änggården.