September 16th this year marks the 80th anniversary of the foundering of the French research vessel PourquoiPas? (Why not?) at Mýrar in Borgarfjörður. This event is remembered as one of the most tragic maritime accidents in Iceland. The ship’s commander was the great arctic explorer Dr. Jean-Baptiste Charcot. 40 young Frenchmen, scientists and fishermen, lost their lives that day. The Pourquoi-Pas? was returning from her thirteenth research expedition to the Arctic when an engine failure caused the ship to moor in Reykjavik. Jean-Baptiste Charcot (1867-1936) was one of the pioneers exploring and mapping the polar territories in early last century. He had numerous friends in Iceland and the loss of the Pourquoi-Pas? came as tragic news to Icelanders at the time. When memorial services were held for those who lost their lives, all the shops were closed in the capital, an unprecedented mark of honour for a foreign person. A biography of Charcot (in French) by Serge Kahn was translated into Icelandic by Friðrik Rafnsson and published by JPV Editions in 2006. In Sandgerði, a comprehensive permanent exhibition curated by the University Centre sheds light on the life and work of Dr. Charcot. Charcot will also be remembered with a symposium held at the University of Iceland in September.