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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Baron Alexander von Humboldt – The Last Man Who Knew Everything


Alexander von Humboldt is widely respected as one of the founders of modern geography and biogeography. He was a great explorer and collected exhaustive data in the areas of geomagnetism, meteorology, climatology, geology, mineralogy, oceanography, zoology, botany, ethnography, physiology, and linguistics! Humboldt was the first to note the relation between the earth's magnetic intensity and the aurora borealis.

In 1799 Humboldt started his South American expedition with French botanist Aimé Bonpland and during five years documented some 4,300 species. Alexander von Humboldt had only one six-week stay in the United States during his lifetime, as a guest of President Thomas Jefferson in Washington, at the time of Lewis and Clark expedition. He documented his explorations in a massive 34 volume work that remained unfinished at his death.

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Humboldt was born 1769 in Berlin, Germany – he died 1859.

To coincide with the 150th anniversary of Humboldt’s death Prestel International is publishing never-before-seen botanical masterpieces from the material collected during Alexander von Humboldt’s historic expedition to the Americas and Cuba. Internationally renowned botanist H. Walter Lack lends his expertise to a fascinating essay that discusses Humboldt’s significant contributions to the world of botany and scientific research.

'He was the greatest travelling scientist who ever lived ... I have always admired him; now I worship him.' -Charles Darwin

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