Andrea Wulf, The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World. New York: Knopf, 2015, 496 pages, ill., ISBN: 978–0385350662Alexander von Humboldt dedicated 70 years of his long life (1769–1859) to science and its dissemination and became the most popular scientist of the 19th century. His name is recorded everywhere: plants and animals are named after him, of course, but also places (on the Moon, too: the Mare Humboldtianum), towns, and natural phenomena (like a geyser in Ecuador and the Humboldt Current in the Pacific Ocean). His life was defined by his extraordinary expedition through the Americas (1799–1804) and his explorations brought back to Europe not only new substantial findings in botanic, zoology, meteorology, and geology, but above all a completely new way to look at nature and at the place of humanity in nature. He introduced the notions of isotherms, climate zones, and plant distribution, but even more important was his study on the extensive and substantial interconnections among natural phenomena, the environment, and the presence of living organisms. He was “the first scientist to talk about harmful human-induced climate change” (p. 5) and promoted the establishing of a “comparative climatology” to understand climate change on a global scale
Nuncius (successor of "Annali") – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2017
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