1914 - 1968
Aksel Nørvang died suddenly on November 13, 1968. He graduated in 1933 from Sortedams Gymnasium with baccalaureate degree in Mathematics and the same year began studying geology at the University of Copenhagen. While still a student Nørvang began to research and publish. His research specialty was quaternary geology.
His master’s thesis in 1940 and PhD dissertation in 1943 were on arctic frost structures in Denmark. The dissertation was described as a significantly increasing knowledge of Quaternary geologic formations in Denmark and was awarded a gold medal from the university.
While he was still in graduate school Nørvang became affiliated with the DAPCO oil exploration company (Danish American Prospecting Company, later Gulf Oil Corporation) and began working with foraminifera. This would become his scientific specialty. At the outbreak of war drilling ceased and Nørvang was hired as an assistant at DGU. In 1941 he published a small work on foraminifera off Bergen, which helped him when he studied the foraminifera from the waters around Iceland. This work was published in 1945.
After the war, Nørvang continued drilling for DAPCO and became head of the laboratory. This employment lasted until the wells ceased in 1956 at which time he became an assistant professor at the university.
Nørvang published a dissertation on Foraminifera in 1957.
During the summers of 1956-1958 he was a scientific liaison officer at Thule base Greenland. He later always remembered this time with great joy.
In 1958 Nørvang was hired by the Zoological Museum, where he enthusiastically dedicated himself to the study of recent foraminifera--without losing sight of his paleontological background.
In 1958 he published a work in which he defined a new genus, Islandiella, which could be differentiated from a related genera by differences in dental plaque and by wall structure. Nørvang found it difficult to design studies of the wall structure.
In 1959 he published a paper on a type of Nonion pompilioides whose systematic position is still controversial.
I worked with Nørvang on Schizamminidae, a new foraminifera family. The work dealt with giant foraminifera collected by the Atlantic Expedition in 1946. The material had a peculiar fate, as the animals were so unusually large that they had been sent for processing to an invertebrate specialist who was unable to recognize them. The material eventually ended up with Nørvang in the protozoan department and Nørvang quickly showed that they were foraminifera that were greater than 5 cm in size.
At the Zoological Museum in Krystalgade, in the basement of the main building, Frue Plads, Nørvang’s laboratory was located in what once was the Egyptology Laboratory.
Here, with an assistant, he accumulated material from the Galathea expedition of West Africa. This material was analyzed with material from the Atlantic Expedition.
Even before the change of the Zoological Museum to the new premises at Nørre Fælled, Nørvang began thinking about restarting the serial slicing of foraminifera.
For some of his mounting experiments he was able to find Textularider with perforations in their walls, an observation he used in 1966 for establishing of a new genus, Textilina.
Nørvang had success with his recovery attempt, and after various modifications, the method was published in a preliminary communication on the tooth plate construction with Bulimina striata in 1966, and in a technical journal in 1967.
In 1968 he participated in the international geology Congress in Prague, where he presented his method, and presented some of his findings.
His untimely death interrupted this promising perspective for the systematic research of foraminifer. His enthusiasm for his profession and his great insight into its problems influenced his scientific work.
Writing his memorial has been an honor.
Hans Jorgen Hansen
Adapted from his memorial on the Geological Society of Denmark web site.
The pdf with his memorial is partway down the following page
translated using Google translations.