Arts and Gardens

Vilhelm Bjerknes

Vilhelm Bjerknes (1862-1951) was a physicist and meteorologist, and is renowned as one of the founders of modern weather forecasting. He was professor of mechanics and mathematical physics at Stockholm University from 1893 to 1907, but in 1897 he made a discovery that would lead him into geophysics. He then found his famous circulation rates, which explain how the circular motions of a fluid or gas are formed. With this he tied together the fields of hydro- and thermodynamics.

Stinius Fredriksen: Vilhelm Bjerknes.
Stinius Fredriksen: Vilhelm Bjerknes.
Alf E. Andresen

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In 1904, Bjerknes published an article where he presented equations which in theory make it possible to calculate the atmospheric condition for any time in the foreseeable future. Bjerknes was professor of mechanics and theoretical physics at the Physical Institute in Oslo from 1907. In 1912 he went to Leipzig to lead the new Geophysikaliches Institute at the University. Here he concentrated on working on the theoretical basis for calculations of tomorrow's weather.

In 1917, Vilhelm Bjerknes was employed as manager of the meteorological activities of the newly established Geophysical Institute in Bergen (from 1946 part of the University of Bergen). The academic community surrounding Bjerknes at "Geofysen" was known as the Bergen School. It is linked especially to the polar front cyclone model, which describes low pressure development and front formation. In 1926 Bjerknes returned to his old professorial post in Oslo.

Stinius Fredriksen’s bust of Bjerknes is large, and quite roughly formed. The skin of the face and especially towards the chest seems to consist of overlapping, little flakes, which resemble skin burns. Still, the bust clearly depicts Bjerknes's facial features. We get the impression of an amiable character: a raised head, and a genial, pensive expression.

Stinius Fredriksen (1902-1977) was a sculptor. His early works in the 1920s were classical, but from the middle of the 1930s he changed to a partly abstract style. In 1934 he made two of the sculptures outside the courthouse in Bergen, Wisdom and Justice, in a simplified, hard style. He worked most of his career at restoring the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, and he developed a personal "Gothic" style in his cathedral sculpture. His colleagues jokingly called him St. Inius. Stinius Fredriksen was chairman of the Visual Artists’ Board in the years 1951-1955. He was appointed Officer of the Order of St. Olav in 1969.