Professor Otto Lidenbrock is a geology professor from Hamburg, Germany who is also is the curator of a mineralogy museum. It is his purchase of an Icelandic saga that inspires the journey to the center of the earth. The journey comes about because within the manuscript the professor finds a note written in code by a sixteenth-century alchemist.
Lidenbrock is a somewhat mad—or at least obsessive—professor and insists that all else must stop until the message is deciphered. Finally, his nephew Axel cracks the code to discover that the message says that by descending through a certain crater in Iceland, one can get to the center of the earth. This excites Lidenbrock, who immediately organizes a trip to Iceland and, from there, deep into the bowels of the earth. His expertise in geology and mineralogy will prove helpful on the journey.