nature

Maria Sibylla Merian and her Love for Nature’s Details

Maria Sibylla Merian and her Love for Nature’s Details

On April 2, 1647, the German naturalist and scientific illustrator Maria Sibylla Merian was born. Even though she is not very well known for her achievements, she made significant contributions to entomology through the observation and documentation of the metamorphosis of the butterfly. The fact that Maria Sibylla Merian is not well known throughout the scientific community is probably caused by the fact that the study of nature and entomology in general…
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Ansel Adams and the Beauty of Black and White Photography

Ansel Adams and the Beauty of Black and White Photography

On February 20, 1902, American photographer and environmentalist Ansel Easton Adams was born. He is best known for his black-and-white landscape photographs of the American West, especially Yosemite National Park. Together with Fred Archer, Adams developed the Zone System as a way to determine proper exposure and adjust the contrast of the final print. Ansel Adams was born into a wealthy family in San Francisco. Despite the fact that the Panic of…
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David Attenborough and Life on Planet Earth

David Attenborough and Life on Planet Earth

On May 8, 1926, English broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Frederick Attenborough was born. He is best known for writing and presenting the nine Life series, in conjunction with the BBC Natural History Unit, which collectively form a comprehensive survey of all life on the planet. David Attenborough grew up in College House on the campus of the University College, Leicester, as his father was the principal. During his childhood, Attenborough collected…
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John Muir and the U.S. National Park System

John Muir and the U.S. National Park System

On April 21, 1838, Scottish-American naturalist and author John Muir was born. He was an early advocate of preservation of wilderness in the United States. His letters, essays, and books telling of his adventures in nature, especially in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, have been read by millions. His activism helped to preserve the Yosemite Valley, Sequoia National Park and other wilderness areas. Muir’s family emigrated to the United States in…
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The Great Paris Academic Dispute of 1830

The Great Paris Academic Dispute of 1830

On February 15, 1830, the famous Paris Academy Dispute began between the naturalists Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire and George Cuvier [5] about the possibility of biological evolution began with a speech of Saint-Hillaire comparing vertebrates with mollusces. Within 8 public debates the scientists argued about the possibility that nature not necessarily has to be static but might be subject to constant change. It was the most prominent scientific debate in the 19th century that heavily influenced…
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The World’s most important Scientific Journal – Nature

The World’s most important Scientific Journal – Nature

On 4 November 1869, the very first issue of the prominent interdisciplinary scientific journal ‘Nature‘ was published. It is widely regarded as one of the few remaining academic journals that publish original research across a wide range of scientific fields and was ranked the world‘s most cited journal. Scientific journals played an important role with the enormous technological, scientific, and industrial improvements that evolved during the 19th century. The Royal Society had…
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Charles Lyell and the Principles of Geology

Charles Lyell and the Principles of Geology

Charles Lyell (1797 – 1875) On November 14, 1797, Charles Lyell, British lawyer and the foremost geologist of his day, was born. Lyell was a close friend to Charles Darwin and is best known as the author of Principles of Geology, which popularised James Hutton’s concepts of uniformitarianism – the idea that the earth was shaped by the same processes still in operation today. Politically, in the first decade of Lyell’s life…
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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. Actually, Humboldt did not make this journey all alone. He had a companion, Aimé Bonpland. But today, almost nobody will remember Bonpland. Being an explorer as well as a botanist, Bonpland worked together with Humboldt during five years of travel in Mexico, Colombia and the districts bordering on the Orinoco and Amazon…
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Carl Linnaeus – ‘Princeps Botanicorum’, the Prince of Botany

Carl Linnaeus – ‘Princeps Botanicorum’, the Prince of Botany

On May 23, 1707, Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist Carl Linnaeus – or after his ennoblement Carl von Linné or more fashionable in Latin Carolus Linnaeus – was born. Linnaeus formalised the modern system of naming organisms called binomial nomenclature. He is known by the epithet “father of modern taxonomy“. “Every genus is natural, created as such in the beginning, hence not to be rashly split up or stuck together by whim or according to anyone’s…
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