Alexander von Humboldt

Georg Forster – Naturalist and Revolutionary

Georg Forster – Naturalist and Revolutionary

On November 27, 1754, German naturalist, ethnologist, travel writer, journalist, and revolutionary Georg Forster was born. At an early age, he accompanied his father on several scientific expeditions, including James Cook‘s second voyage to the Pacific.[3] His most famous work ‘A Voyage Round the World‘ is considered as the beginning of modern scientific travel literature, which also made him a member of the famous Royal Society. “Poor human race! What abysses have you…
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Wilhelm von Humboldt and the Reform of Prussia’s Education System

Wilhelm von Humboldt and the Reform of Prussia’s Education System

On June 22, 1767, Friedrich Wilhelm Christian Karl Ferdinand von Humboldt was born. He was a Prussian philosopher, government functionary, diplomat, and founder of the University of Berlin. He is especially remembered as a linguist who made important contributions to the philosophy of language and to the theory and practice of education. In particular, he is widely recognized as having been the architect of the Prussian education system which was used as a…
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Felix Mendelssohn – Child Prodigy of the Romantic Era

Felix Mendelssohn – Child Prodigy of the Romantic Era

On November 4, 1847, the German composer, pianist, and organist of the Romantic era Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy passed away. He is regarded as one of the most important Romantic musicians and, as a conductor, set new standards that continue to shape conducting to this day. “People usually complain that music is so ambiguous, and what they are supposed to think when they hear it is so unclear, while words are understood by…
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On the Road with Alexander von Humboldt

On the Road with Alexander von Humboldt

On August 3, 1804 geographer, naturalist, and explorer Alexander von Humboldt returned home from his great South America scientific discovery journey. “I am more and more convinced that our happiness or unhappiness depends more on the way we meet the events of life than on the nature of those events themselves”. – Alexander von Humboldt Aimé Bonpland and Daniel Kehlmann Actually, Humboldt did not make this journey all alone. He had a…
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Ernst Haeckel and the Phyletic Museum

Ernst Haeckel and the Phyletic Museum

On July 30, 1908, the ‘Phyletic Museum‘ was gifted to the University of Jena due to its 350th anniversary by Ernst Haeckel. The famous zoologist was best known for his approaches in evolution theory. “As our mother earth is a mere speck in the sunbeam in the illimitable universe, so man himself is but a tiny grain of protoplasm in the perishable framework of organic nature. [This] clearly indicates the true place…
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Never Stop Looking into Nature – Henry David Thoreau

Never Stop Looking into Nature – Henry David Thoreau

On July 12, 1817, philosopher and author Henry David Thoreau was born. He is probably best known today for his book ‘Walden‘, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, as well as for his essay ‘Civil Disobedience‘, an argument for individual resistance to civil government in moral opposition to an unjust state. “The law will never make men free; it is men who have got to make the law free.” — Henry…
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Louis Agassiz and the Ice Ages

Louis Agassiz and the Ice Ages

On May 28, 1807, Swiss paleontologist, glaciologist, and geologist Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz was born, who is considered a prominent innovator in the study of the Earth‘s natural history. He was the first to scientifically propose that the Earth had been subject to a past ice age. “The time has come when scientific truth must cease to be the property of the few, when it must be woven into the common life…
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Pierre Simon de Laplace and his true love for Astronomy and Mathematics

Pierre Simon de Laplace and his true love for Astronomy and Mathematics

On March 28, 1749, French mathematician and astronomer Pierre Simon marquis de Laplace was born, whose work was pivotal to the development of mathematical astronomy and statistics. One of his major achievements was the conclusion of the five-volume Mécanique Céleste (Celestial Mechanics) which translated the geometric study of classical mechanics to one based on calculus, opening up a broader range of problems. “One sees, from this Essay, that the theory of probabilities…
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Martin Heinrich Klaproth and the Analytical Chemistry

Martin Heinrich Klaproth and the Analytical Chemistry

On December 1, 1743, German chemist Martin Heinrich Klaproth was born. Klaproth became well known a founder of analytical chemistry discovered uranium (1789), zirconium (1789), cerium (1803), and contributed to the identification of others. Although he did not isolate them as pure metal samples, he was able to recognize them as new elements. Youth and Education Martin Heinrich Klaproth was born in Wernigerode as the child of a poor tailor. After attending…
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William Joscelyn Arkell and the Jurassic Period

William Joscelyn Arkell and the Jurassic Period

On June 9, 1904, British geologist and paleontologist William Joscelyn Arkell was born. Arkell is regarded as the leading authority on the Jurassic Period during the middle part of the 20th century. His work includes the classification of Jurassic ammonites and an interpretation of the environments of that period. In 1946, his “Standard of the European Jurassic” advocated a commission formulate a code of rules for stratigraphical nomenclature. William Joscelyn Arkell –…
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