Litke was a remarkable Russian scientist, navigator, statesman, and scholar who made significant contributions to world science. His life was filled with tireless scientific activity, including numerous ocean travels. He was known especially for his contributions to the history of Russian geographical science and to marine hydrography. Litke combined his scientific activities with tutoring when he was charged with educating the son of Tsar Nicholas I. He was first president of the Academy of Sciences and organized the Russian Geographical Society.