geography

James Hutton – the Father of Modern Geology

James Hutton – the Father of Modern Geology

On June 3, 1726, Scottish geologist, physician, chemical manufacturer, naturalist, and experimental agriculturalist James Hutton was born. He originated the theory of uniformitarianism, a fundamental principle of geology, which explains the features of the Earth’s crust by means of natural processes over geologic time. Hutton’s work established geology as a proper science, and thus he is often referred to as the “Father of Modern Geology“. “The past history of our globe must be explained…
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Abraham Ortelius and the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum

Abraham Ortelius and the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum

On May 20, 1570, Belgian cartographer and geographer Abraham Ortelius published the first modern atlas, the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, in Antwerp. It consisted of a collection of uniform map sheets and sustaining text bound to form a book for which copper printing plates were specifically engraved. Abraham Ortelius – Early Years Abraham Ortelius was born in Antwerp, but grew up with his uncle after his father passed away at young age. In…
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John Murray and the Oceanography

John Murray and the Oceanography

On March 3, 1841, pioneering Scottish oceanographer, marine biologist and limnologist Sir John Murray was born. As one of its founders, coined the name oceanography. He studied ocean basins, deep-sea deposits, and coral-reef formation. As a marine scientist, he took part in the Challenger Expedition (1872–76), the first major oceanographic expedition of the world. John Murray – Early Years John Murray was born in Coburg, Ontario as the second son of Elizabeth Macfarlane…
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Erich von Drygalski’s Antarctic Expeditions

Erich von Drygalski’s Antarctic Expeditions

On February 9, 1865, German geographer, geophysicist and polar scientist Erich Dagobert von Drygalski was born. Drygalski discovered a volcano, free of ice, on the Antarctic continent. He named it Gaussberg, after the name of his research ship Gauss in which he led the German South Polar Expedition (1901-03). Background Erich von Drygalski Erich von Drygalski was born in Köningsberg, East Prussia. At age 17, Drygalski began to study mathematics and natural science at…
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Johannes Schöner and his Famous Globes

Johannes Schöner and his Famous Globes

On January 16, 1477, German polymath Johannes Schöner was born. He was a priest, astronomer, astrologer, geographer, cosmographer, cartographer, mathematician, globe and scientific instrument maker and editor and publisher of scientific tests. He is well known for making and printing geographical globes, notably his 1515 globe which is one of the earliest surviving globes produced following the discovery of new lands by Christopher Columbus. “Himmelan hat er dein Ziel Selbst hinaufgestellt. Sorg…
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Sir George Everest and his Trigonometric Survey of India

Sir George Everest and his Trigonometric Survey of India

On July 4, 1790, Welsh military engineer and geodesist Sir George Everest was born. Everest was the Surveyor General of India from 1830 through 1843, providing the accurate mapping of the subcontinent. For more than twenty-five years and despite numerous hardships, he surveyed the longest arc of the meridian ever accomplished at the time. In 1865, Mount Everest was named in his honour in the English language, despite his objections, by the…
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Ferdinand Freiherr von Richthofen and the Silk Road

Ferdinand Freiherr von Richthofen and the Silk Road

On May 5, 1833, German traveller, geographer, and scientist Ferdinand Freiherr von Richthofen was born. Von Richthofen is noted for coining the terms “Seidenstraße” and “Seidenstraßen” = “Silk Road(s)” or “Silk Route(s)” in 1877. He also standardized the practices of chorography and chorology. Richthofen and the Alpine Geology Ferdinand von Richthofen was born in Carlsruhe, Prussian Silesia, to Karl Richthofen and his wife Ferdinande. He attended the Catholic Gymnasium in Breslau (today…
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Édouard-Gaston Deville and the Perfection of Photogrammetry

Édouard-Gaston Deville and the Perfection of Photogrammetry

On February 21, 1849, French-Canadian surveyor Édouard-Gaston Deville was born. Deville perfected the first practical method of photogrammetry, the making of maps based on photography. Édouard-Gaston Deville – Becoming a Surveyor Édouard-Gaston Deville was born at La Charité sur Noire, Nièvre, France. Educated at the naval school at Brest, Deville served in the French navy and conducted hydrographic surveys in the South Sea islands and Peru. In 1875, he retired and immigrated to Quebec with his widowed mother…
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Wladimir Köppen and the Köppen Climate Classification System

Wladimir Köppen and the Köppen Climate Classification System

On September 25, 1846, Russian-German geographer, meteorologist, climatologist and botanist Wladimir Peter Köppen was born. His most notable contribution to science was the development of the Köppen climate classification system, which, with some modifications, is still commonly used. Köppen made significant contributions to several branches of science. Wladimir Köppen – Early Years Wladimir Peter Köppen was born in Russia as the son of German parents, Peter von Köppen and Alexandrine, née von Adelung, and…
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George W. De Long and the ill-fated Jeanette Polar Expedition

George W. De Long and the ill-fated Jeanette Polar Expedition

On August 22, 1844, United States Navy officer and explorer George Washington De Long was born. De Long led the ill-fated Jeannette Expedition in search of the Open Polar Sea. The expedition tried to reach the North Pole by pioneering a route from the Pacific Ocean through the Bering Strait. The premise was that a temperate current, the Kuro Siwo, flowed northwards into the strait, providing a gateway to an Open Polar…
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