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Humboldt, Baron (Friedrich Heinrich) Alexander von

Summary Article: Humboldt, (Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich) Alexander (1769–1859) from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide
German geophysicist, botanist, geologist, and writer who, with French botanist Aimé Bonpland (1773–1858), explored the regions of the Orinoco and Amazon rivers in South America 1800–04, and gathered 60,000 plant specimens. He was a founder of ecology. Humboldt aimed to erect a new science, a "physics of the globe", analysing the deep physical interconnectedness of all terrestrial phenomena. He believed that geological phenomena were to be understood in terms of basic physical causes (for example, terrestrial magnetism or rotation). One of the first popularizers of science, he gave a series of lectures later published as Kosmos/Cosmos 1845–62, an account of the relations between physical environment and flora and fauna. Humboldt was born in Berlin and studied at Göttingen and the Mining Academy, Freiburg. He travelled widely in Europe before the expedition to South and Central America. Surveying, mapping, and gathering information, Humboldt covered s...    Continue Reading
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