Ivan Papanin (1894 - 1986) was a Russian Polar Explorer, Scientist, Counter Admiral, twice Hero of the Soviet Union awarded by nine Orders of Lenin.
In 1953-1972 he was the director of the Institute for Biology of the Internal Bodies of Water (Bilogii Vnutrennikh Vod)
Ivan was born in Sevastopol (currently Ukraine) in a family of a sailor. In 1914 he was conscripted to the Russian Navy. He took part in the Russian Civil War on the Soviet side, fighting in Ukraine. In 1920 he was sent to Crimea to organize guerilla movement against forces of Pyotr Nikolayevich Wrangel.
In 1923-1932 he worked for Narkomat of Communications. In 1931 he took part in the expedition of the icebreaker Malygin to the Franz Josef Land. In 1932-1933 he was the chief of a polar expedition in the Tikhaya Bay on the Franz Josef Land. In 1934-1935 he was the head of a polar station on the Cape Chelyuskin.
In 1937-1938 he was the head of the famous expedition North Pole-1. Four researchers Ivan Papanin, Ernest Krenkel, Evgeny Fedorov and Petr Shirshov were dropped by airplane on to the Arctic drifting ice-floes and for 234 days carried out a wide range of scientific observations in the near-polar zone, until taken back by icebreaker Krasin. It was the world first of such expeditions. All members of the expedition received the Hero of the Soviet Union title, that was extremely rare before the World War II.
In 1939-1946 Papanin succeeded Otto Schmidt as the head of Glavsevmorput' (Glavniy Severniy Morskoy Put') - an establishment that oversaw all commercial operations on the Northern Sea Route. In 1940 he received the second Hero of the Soviet Union title for organization of the expedition that saved icebreaker "Sedov". During the World War II he was the representative the State Defence Committee (Gosudarstvennij Komiet Oborony) responsible for all transportation by the Northern Sea Route. In 1941-1952 he was a member of the Central Revision Commission of the Communist Party.
In 1948-1951 he was the deputy director of Institute for Oceanology of the USSR Academy of Sciences and from 1951 until his death in 1986 he was the Head of the Department of Sea Expeditions of the Academy.
In 1953-1972 he was also the director of the Institute for Biology of the Internal Bodies of Water (Bilogii Vnutrennikh Vod). The Institute has evolved into a large scientific research institution, contributing to the resolution of various ecological and economic issues through fundamental studies. In 1987 the Institute was named after its founder and the first director Rear Admiral I. D. Papanin. Now, the institute is associated with the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Russia.
Papanin's name is given to a cape on the Taymyr Peninsula, a mountain in Antarctica, and an underwater mountain in the Pacific Ocean.