2016 Royal Society Panel Discussion: “Banks in the Land of Fire and Ice”

April 26, 2016 | London

Organized by: The Royal Society

Pan-Arctic Options Participants: Paul Berkman


Sir Joseph Banks, the influential British naturalist, botanist and patron of natural sciences was well known for accompanying Captain James Cook on the Endeavour. Redefining ideas of exploration, in 1772 he undertook the first British scientific voyage to Iceland.

Documenting the dramatic volcanic landscape for the first time and establishing friendships with the Icelandic community, his voyage helped shape the history of this remote island.

The panel discussion explored Banks’ historical and scientific significance in Iceland and the North Atlantic. From a new compilation of his work, Anna Agnarsdóttir discussed his personal and scientific manuscripts from the expedition and debated his subsequent involvement with the country during the Napoleonic Wars. Paul Berkman also contributed.

Photo (c) Moyann Brenn. Source: Flickr. License: CC BY 2.0.