Scientist Comes Face to Face With Polar Bear

One day in 2005, Marc Cornelissen found himself face to face with a polar bear while his pants were down and he was sitting on an outdoor toilet in the Arctic. His heart pounded, and he resolved to surrender. Then he remembered his daughter back home in the Netherlands. He grabbed a shovel and shook it toward the bear’s face, as the bear was, by then, standing on its hind legs and sizing up its prey.
Cornelissen knew firsthand the dangers of the Arctic, but the simplicity of the explorer’s life and its constant tension with survival drew him, almost every year since 1996, back to the poles. Research into climate change gave additional purpose to his adventures. Over the years, Cornelissen became an example to a breed of scientists who felt the Arctic’s pull. He guided the research trips to the North Pole, and he also took measurements to help scientists understand the new Arctic: the rapid changes being triggered by global warming.