|Born||May 28, 1807|
|Died||December 14, 1873 66) (aged|
|Alma mater||University of Erlangen-Nuremberg|
Elizabeth Cabot Cary
|Children||Alexander, Ida, and Pauline|
|Awards||Wollaston Medal (1836)|
|Institutions|| University of Neuchâtel |
|Doctoral advisor||Carl Friedrich Philipp von Martius|
|Other academic advisors||Ignaz Döllinger, Georges Cuvier, Alexander von Humboldt|
|Notable students||William Stimpson, William Healey Dall, Karl Vogt|
Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz ( // ; French: [aɡasi] ; May 28, 1807 –December 14, 1873) was a Swiss-American biologist and geologist recognized as an innovative and prodigious scholar of Earth's natural history. Agassiz grew up in Switzerland, and he received Doctor of Philosophy and medical degrees at Erlangen and Munich, respectively. After studying with Cuvier and Humboldt in Paris, Agassiz was appointed professor of natural history at the University of Neuchâtel. After visiting Harvard University mid-career, he emigrated to the United States in 1847. He went on to become professor of zoology and geology at Harvard, to head its Lawrence Scientific School, and to found its Museum of Comparative Zoology.
A biologist is a scientist who has specialized knowledge in the field of biology, the scientific study of life. Biologists involved in fundamental research attempt to explore and further explain the underlying mechanisms that govern the functioning of living matter. Biologists involved in applied research attempt to develop or improve more specific processes and understanding, in fields such as medicine and industry.
A geologist is a scientist who studies the solid, liquid, and gaseous matter that constitutes the Earth and other terrestrial planets, as well as the processes that shape them. Geologists usually study geology, although backgrounds in physics, chemistry, biology, and other sciences are also useful. Field work is an important component of geology, although many subdisciplines incorporate laboratory work.
Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organisms including animals, fungi and plants in their environment; leaning more towards observational than experimental methods of study. A person who studies natural history is called a naturalist or natural historian.
Agassiz is known for his regimen of observational data gathering and analysis. He made vast institutional and scientific contributions to zoology, geology, and related areas, including writing multi-volume research books running to thousands of pages. He is particularly known for his contributions to ichthyological classification, including of extinct species, and to the study of geological history, including to the founding of glaciology. In the 20th and 21st centuries, Agassiz's resistance to Darwinian evolution, and the scientific racism implicit in his writings on human polygenism, have tarnished his reputation and led to controversies over his legacy.
Ichthyology, also known as fish science, is the branch of zoology devoted to the study of fish. This includes bony fish (Osteichthyes), cartilaginous fish (Chondrichthyes), and jawless fish (Agnatha). While a large number of species have been discovered, approximately 250 new species are officially described by science each year. According to FishBase, 33,400 species of fish had been described by October 2016.
Historical geology or paleogeology is a discipline that uses the principles and techniques of geology to reconstruct and understand the geological history of Earth. It focuses on geologic processes that change the Earth's surface and subsurface; and the use of stratigraphy, structural geology and paleontology to tell the sequence of these events. It also focuses on the evolution of plants and animals during different time periods in the geological timescale. The discovery of radioactivity and the development of several radiometric dating techniques in the first half of the 20th century provided a means of deriving absolute versus relative ages of geologic history.
Glaciology is the scientific study of glaciers, or more generally ice and natural phenomena that involve ice.
Louis Agassiz was born in Môtier (now part of Haut-Vully) in the canton of Fribourg, Switzerland. The son of a pastor,Agassiz was educated first at home, he then spent four years of secondary school in Bienne, entering in 1818 and completing his elementary studies in Lausanne. Having adopted medicine as his profession, Agassiz studied successively at the universities of Zürich, Heidelberg, and Munich; while there, he extended his knowledge of natural history, especially of botany. In 1829 he received the degree of doctor of philosophy at Erlangen, and in 1830 that of doctor of medicine at Munich. Moving to Paris, he came under the tutelage of Alexander von Humboldt (and later his financial benevolence). Humboldt and Georges Cuvier launched him on his careers of geology and zoology respectively. Previously, he had not paid special attention to the study of ichthyology, but it soon became the focus of his life's work.
Haut-Vully is a former municipality in the district of See/Lac in the canton of Fribourg in Switzerland. Until 1977, it was officially known as Vully-Le-Haut. Its German name of Oberwistenlach is now little used. On 1 January 2016 the former municipalities of Bas-Vully and Haut-Vully merged to form Mont-Vully.
The canton of Fribourg, also canton of Friburg is located in western Switzerland. The canton is bilingual, with French spoken by two thirds of the citizens and German by about one third. Both are official languages in the canton, but it is generally considered part of the French-speaking region of Romandy. The canton takes its name from its capital city of Fribourg.
Lausanne is a city in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, and the capital and biggest city of the canton of Vaud. The city is situated on the shores of Lake Geneva. It faces the French town of Évian-les-Bains, with the Jura Mountains to its north-west. Lausanne is located 62 kilometres northeast of Geneva.
In 1819–1820, the German biologists Johann Baptist von Spix and Carl Friedrich Philipp von Martius undertook an expedition to Brazil. They returned home to Europe with many natural objects, including an important collection of the freshwater fish of Brazil, especially of the Amazon River. Spix, who died in 1826, did not live long enough to work out the history of these fish, and Martius selected Agassiz for this project. Agassiz threw himself into the work with an enthusiasm that would go on to characterize the rest of life's work. The task of describing the Brazilian fish was completed and published in 1829. This was followed by research into the history of fish found in Lake Neuchâtel. Enlarging his plans, in 1830 he issued a prospectus of a History of the Freshwater Fish of Central Europe. It was only in 1839, however, that the first part of this publication appeared, and it was completed in 1842.
Johann Baptist Ritter von Spix was a German biologist. From his expedition to Brazil he brought to Germany a large variety of specimens of plants, insects, mammals, birds, amphibians and fish. They constitute an important basis for today's National Zoological Collection in Munich. Numerous examples of his ethnographic collections, such as dance masks and the like, are now part of the collection of the Museum of Ethnography in Munich.
Carl Friedrich Philipp von Martius was a German botanist and explorer.
Brazil, officially the Federative Republic of Brazil, is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers and with over 208 million people, Brazil is the world's fifth-largest country by area and the fifth most populous. The capital is Brasília, and the most populated city is São Paulo. The federation is composed of the union of the 26 states, the Federal District, and the 5,570 municipalities. It is the largest country to have Portuguese as an official language and the only one in the Americas; it is also one of the most multicultural and ethnically diverse nations, due to over a century of mass immigration from around the world.
In 1832, Agassiz was appointed professor of natural history at the University of Neuchâtel. The fossil fish in the rock of the surrounding region, the slates of Glarus and the limestones of Monte Bolca, soon attracted his attention. At the time, very little had been accomplished in their scientific study. Agassiz, as early as 1829, planned the publication of a work which, more than any other, laid the foundation of his worldwide fame. Five volumes of his Recherches sur les poissons fossiles ("Research on Fossil Fish") were published from 1833 to 1843. They were magnificently illustrated, chiefly by Joseph Dinkel.In gathering materials for this work Agassiz visited the principal museums in Europe, and, meeting Cuvier in Paris, he received much encouragement and assistance from him. They had known him for seven years at the time.
The University of Neuchâtel (UniNE) is a French-speaking university based in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. The university has four faculties (schools) and more than a dozen institutes, including arts and human sciences, natural sciences, law and economics. The Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences, with 2,000 students, is the largest school of those that comprise the University of Neuchâtel.
Slate is a fine-grained, foliated, homogeneous metamorphic rock derived from an original shale-type sedimentary rock composed of clay or volcanic ash through low-grade regional metamorphism. It is the finest grained foliated metamorphic rock. Foliation may not correspond to the original sedimentary layering, but instead is in planes perpendicular to the direction of metamorphic compression.
Glarus is the capital of the canton of Glarus in Switzerland. Since 1 January 2011, the municipality Glarus incorporates the former municipalities of Ennenda, Netstal and Riedern.
Agassiz found that his palaeontological analyses required a new ichthyological classification. The fossils he examined rarely showed any traces of the soft tissues of fish, but, instead, consisted chiefly of the teeth, scales, and fins, with the bones being perfectly preserved in comparatively few instances. He, therefore, adopted a classification that divided fish into four groups: Ganoids, Placoids, Cycloids and Ctenoids, based on the nature of the scales and other dermal appendages. This did much to improve fish taxonomy, but Aggasiz's classification has since been superseded.
In biology, taxonomy is the science of defining and naming groups of biological organisms on the basis of shared characteristics. Organisms are grouped together into taxa and these groups are given a taxonomic rank; groups of a given rank can be aggregated to form a super-group of higher rank, thus creating a taxonomic hierarchy. The principal ranks in modern use are domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus and species. The Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus is regarded as the father of taxonomy, as he developed a system known as Linnaean taxonomy for categorization of organisms and binomial nomenclature for naming organisms.
Agassiz needed financial support to continue his work. The British Association and the Earl of Ellesmere—then Lord Francis Egerton—stepped in to help. The 1,290 original drawings made for the work were purchased by the Earl, and presented by him to the Geological Society of London. In 1836, the Wollaston Medal was awarded to Agassiz by the council of that society for his work on fossil ichthyology; and, in 1838, he was elected a foreign member of the Royal Society. Meanwhile, invertebrate animals engaged his attention. In 1837, he issued the "Prodrome" of a monograph on the recent and fossil Echinodermata, the first part of which appeared in 1838; in 1839–40, he published two quarto volumes on the fossil Echinoderms of Switzerland; and in 1840–45 he issued his Études critiques sur les mollusques fossiles ("Critical Studies on Fossil Mollusks").
Before Agassiz's first visit to England in 1834, Hugh Miller and other geologists had brought to light the remarkable fossil fish of the Old Red Sandstone of the northeast of Scotland. The strange forms of the Pterichthys , the Coccosteus and other genera were then made known to geologists for the first time. They were of intense interest to Agassiz, and formed the subject of a monograph by him published in 1844–45: Monographie des poissons fossiles du Vieux Grès Rouge, ou Système Dévonien (Old Red Sandstone) des Îles Britanniques et de Russie ("Monograph on Fossil Fish of the Old Red Sandstone, or Devonian System of the British Isles and of Russia"). [ citation needed ]In the early stages of his career in Neuchatel, Agassiz also made a name for himself as a man who could run a scientific department well. Under his care, the University of Neuchâtel soon became a leading institution for scientific inquiry.
In 1842–1846, Agassiz issued his Nomenclator Zoologicus, a classification list, with references, of all names used in zoological genera and groups.
In 1837, Agassiz proposed that the Earth had been subjected to a past ice age.He presented the theory to the Helvetic Society that ancient glaciers had not only flowed outward from the Alps, but that even larger glaciers had covered the plains and mountains of Europe, Asia, and North America, smothering the entire northern hemisphere in a prolonged ice age. In the same year, he was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Prior to this proposal, Goethe, de Saussure, Venetz, Jean de Charpentier, Karl Friedrich Schimper and others had studied the glaciers of the Alps, and Goethe, Charpentier and Schimper had even concluded that the erratic blocks of alpine rocks scattered over the slopes and summits of the Jura Mountains had been moved there by glaciers. These ideas attracted the attention of Agassiz, and he discussed them with Charpentier and Schimper, whom he accompanied on successive trips to the Alps. Agassiz even had a hut constructed upon one of the Aar Glaciers, which for a time he made his home, to investigate the structure and movements of the ice.
In 1840, Agassiz published a two-volume work entitled Études sur les glaciers ("Studies on Glaciers").In this, he discussed the movements of the glaciers, their moraines, their influence in grooving and rounding the rocks, and in producing the striations and roches moutonnees seen in Alpine-style landscapes. He accepted Charpentier's and Schimper's idea that some of the alpine glaciers had extended across the wide plains and valleys of the Aar and Rhône. But he went further, concluding that, in the recent past, Switzerland had been covered with one vast sheet of ice, originating in the higher Alps and extending over the valley of northwestern Switzerland to southern slopes of the Jura. The publication of this work gave fresh impetus to the study of glacial phenomena in all parts of the world.
Familiar, then, with recent glaciation, Agassiz and the English geologist William Buckland visited the mountains of Scotland in 1840. There they found clear evidence in different locations of glacial action. The discovery was announced to the Geological Society of London in successive communications. The mountainous districts of England, Wales, and Ireland were understood to have been centres for the dispersion of glacial debris. Agassiz remarked "that great sheets of ice, resembling those now existing in Greenland, once covered all the countries in which unstratified gravel (boulder drift) is found; that this gravel was in general produced by the trituration of the sheets of ice upon the subjacent surface, etc."
With the aid of a grant of money from the King of Prussia, Agassiz crossed the Atlantic in the autumn of 1846 to investigate the natural history and geology of North America and to deliver a course of lectures on "The Plan of Creation as shown in the Animal Kingdom,"by invitation from J. A. Lowell, at the Lowell Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. The financial offers presented to him in the United States induced him to settle there, where he remained to the end of his life. He was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1846. Agassiz had a cordial relationship with Harvard botanist Asa Gray, but they disagreed on some scientific issues. For example, Agassiz was a member of the Scientific Lazzaroni, a group of mostly physical scientists who wanted American academia to mimic the autocratic academic structures of European universities, whereas Gray was a staunch opponent of that group. Agassiz also felt each human race had different origins, but Gray believed in the unity of all humans.
Agassiz's engagement for the Lowell Institute lectures precipitated the establishment, in 1847, of the Lawrence Scientific School at Harvard University, with Agassiz as its head. [ citation needed ]Harvard appointed him professor of zoology and geology, and he founded the Museum of Comparative Zoology there in 1859, serving as the museum's first director until his death in 1873. During his tenure at Harvard, Agassiz studied the effect of the last ice age on North America.
Agassiz continued his lectures for the Lowell Institute. In succeeding years, he gave lectures on "Ichthyology" (1847–48 season), "Comparative Embryology" (1848–49), "Functions of Life in Lower Animals" (1850–51), "Natural History" (1853–54), "Methods of Study in Natural History" (1861–62), "Glaciers and the Ice Period" (1864–65), "Brazil" (1866–67) and "Deep Sea Dredging" (1869–70). [ citation needed ]In 1850, he married an American college teacher, Elizabeth Cabot Cary, who later wrote introductory books about natural history and a lengthy biography of her husband after he died.
Agassiz served as a non-resident lecturer at Cornell University while also being on faculty at Harvard. [ citation needed ]In 1852, he accepted a medical professorship of comparative anatomy at Charlestown, Massachusetts, but he resigned in two years. From this time, Agassiz's, scientific studies dropped off, but he became one of the best-known scientists in the world. By 1857, Agassiz was so well-loved that his friend Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote "The fiftieth birthday of Agassiz" in his honor, and read it at a dinner given for Agassiz by the Saturday Club in Cambridge. His own writing continued with four (of a planned ten) volumes of Natural History of the United States, published from 1857 to 1862. He also published a catalog of papers in his field, Bibliographia Zoologiae et Geologiae, in four volumes between 1848 and 1854.
Stricken by ill health in the 1860s, Agassiz resolved to return to the field for relaxation and to resume his studies of Brazilian fish. In April 1865, he led a party to Brazil. Returning home in August 1866, an account of this expedition, entitled A Journey in Brazil, was published in 1868. In December 1871 he made a second eight-month excursion, known as the Hassler expedition under the command of Commander Philip Carrigan Johnson (brother of Eastman Johnson), visiting South America on its southern Atlantic and Pacific seaboards. The ship explored the Magellan Strait, which drew the praise of Charles Darwin.[ citation needed ]
Elizabeth Agassiz wrote, at the Strait: '. ... .the Hassler pursued her course, past a seemingly endless panorama of mountains and forests rising into the pale regions of snow and ice, where lay glaciers in which every rift and crevasse, as well as the many cascades flowing down to join the waters beneath, could be counted as she steamed by them. ... These were weeks of exquisite delight to Agassiz. The vessel often skirted the shore so closely that its geology could be studied from the deck.'[ citation needed ]
From his first marriage to Cecilie Bruan, Agassiz had two daughters in addition to son Alexander.In 1863, Agassiz's daughter Ida married Henry Lee Higginson, who later founded the Boston Symphony Orchestra and was a benefactor to Harvard University and other schools. On November 30, 1860, Agassiz's daughter Pauline was married to Quincy Adams Shaw (1825–1908), a wealthy Boston merchant and later benefactor to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
In the last years of his life, Agassiz worked to establish a permanent school where zoological science could be pursued amid the living subjects of its study. In 1873, a private philanthropist (John Anderson) gave Agassiz the island of Penikese, in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts (south of New Bedford), and presented him with $50,000 to permanently endow it as a practical school of natural science, especially devoted to the study of marine zoology. [ citation needed ]The John Anderson school collapsed soon after Agassiz's death; it is considered a precursor of the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory, which is nearby.
Agassiz had a profound influence on the American branches of his two fields, teaching many future scientists that would go on to prominence, including Alpheus Hyatt, David Starr Jordan, Joel Asaph Allen, Joseph Le Conte, Ernest Ingersoll, William James, Nathaniel Shaler, Samuel Hubbard Scudder, Alpheus Packard, and his son Alexander Emanuel Agassiz, among others. He had a profound impact on paleontologist Charles Doolittle Walcott and natural scientist Edward S. Morse. Agassiz had a reputation for being a demanding teacher. He would allegedly "lock a student up in a room full of turtle-shells, or lobster-shells, or oyster-shells, without a book or a word to help him, and not let him out till he had discovered all the truths which the objects contained."Two of Agassiz's most prominent students detailed their personal experiences under his tutelage: Scudder, in a short magazine article for Every Saturday, and Shaler, in his Autobiography. These and other recollections were collected and published by Lane Cooper in 1917, which Ezra Pound was to draw on for his anecdote of Agassiz and the sunfish.
In the early 1840s, Agassiz named two fossil fish species after Mary Anning — Acrodus anningiae , and Belenostomus anningiae— and another after her friend, Elizabeth Philpot. Anning was a paleontologist known around the world for important finds, but, because of her gender, she was often not formal recognized for her work. Agassiz was grateful for the help the women had given him in examining fossil fish specimens during his visit to Lyme Regis in 1834.
Agassiz died in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1873 and was buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery, joined later by his wife. His monument is a boulder from a glacial moraine of the Aar near the site of the old Hôtel des Neuchâtelois, not far from the spot where his hut once stood; his grave is sheltered by pine trees from his old home in Switzerland.
The Cambridge elementary school north of Harvard University was named in his honor and the surrounding neighborhood became known as "Agassiz" as a result. The school's name was changed to the Maria L. Baldwin School on May 21, 2002, due to concerns about Agassiz's alleged racism, and to honor Maria Louise Baldwin the African-American principal of the school who served from 1889 until 1922.The neighborhood, however, continues to be known as Agassiz. An elementary school called the Agassiz Elementary School in Minneapolis, Minnesota existed from 1922–1981.
An ancient glacial lake that formed in the Great Lakes region of North America, Lake Agassiz, is named after him, as are Mount Agassiz in California's Palisades, Mount Agassiz, in the Uinta Mountains, Agassiz Peak in Arizona and in his native Switzerland, the Agassizhorn in the Bernese Alps. Agassiz Glacier (Montana) and Agassiz Creek in Glacier National Park and Agassiz Glacier (Alaska) in Saint Elias Mountains, Mount Agassiz in Bethlehem, New Hampshire in the White Mountains also bear his name. A crater on Mars Crater Agassizand a promontorium on the Moon are also named in his honour. A headland situated in Palmer Land, Antarctica is named in his honor, Cape Agassiz. A main-belt asteroid named 2267 Agassiz is also named in association with Louis Agassiz.
Several animal species are named in honor of Louis Agassiz, including Apistogramma agassizii Steindachner, 1875 (Agassiz's dwarf cichlid); Isocapnia agassizi Ricker, 1943 (a stonefly); Publius agassizi (Kaup, 1871) (a passalid beetle); Xylocrius agassizi (LeConte, 1861) (a longhorn beetle); Exoprosopa agassizi Loew, 1869 (a bee fly); Chelonia agassizii Bocourt, 1868 (Galápagos green turtle); Philodryas agassizii (Jan, 1863) (a South American snake); and the most well-known, Gopherus agassizii (Cooper, 1863) (the desert tortoise).
In 2005 the EGU Division on Cryospheric Sciences established the Louis Agassiz Medal, awarded to individuals in recognition of their outstanding scientific contribution to the study of the cryosphere on Earth or elsewhere in the solar system.
Agassiz took part in a monthly gathering called the Saturday Club at the Parker House, a meeting of Boston writers and intellectuals. He was therefore mentioned in a stanza of the Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. poem "At the Saturday Club":
There, at the table's further end I see
In his old place our Poet's vis-à-vis,
The great PROFESSOR, strong, broad-shouldered, square,
In life's rich noontide, joyous, debonair
How will her realm be darkened, losing thee,
Her darling, whom we call our AGASSIZ!
After Agassiz came to the United States, he wrote prolifically on polygenism, which holds that animals, plants and humans were all created in "special provinces" with distinct populations of species created in and for each province, and that these populations were endowed with unequal attributes.Agassiz denied that migration and adaptation could account for the geographical age or any of the past. Adaptation takes time; in an example, Agassiz questioned how plants or animals could migrate through regions they were not equipped to handle. According to Agassiz the conditions in which particular creatures live "are the conditions necessary to their maintenance, and what among organized beings is essential to their temporal existence must be at least one of the conditions under which they were created". Agassiz was opposed to monogenism and evolution, believing that the theory of evolution reduced the wisdom of God to an impersonal materialism.
Agassiz was influenced by philosophical idealism and the scientific work of Georges Cuvier. Agassiz believed there is one species of humans but many different creations of races.These ideas are now included under the rubric of scientific racism. According to Agassiz, genera and species were ideas in the mind of God; their existence in God's mind prior to their physical creation meant that God could create humans as one species yet in several distinct and geographically separate acts of creation. Agassiz was in modern terms a creationist who believed nature had order because God created it directly. Agassiz viewed his career in science as a search for ideas in the mind of the creator expressed in creation.
Agassiz, like other polygenists, believed the Book of Genesis recounted the origin of the white race only and that the animals and plants in the Bible refer only to those species proximate and familiar to Adam and Eve. Agassiz believed that the writers of the Bible only knew of local events, for example Noah's flood was a local event only known to the regions that were populated by ancient Hebrews. Agassiz also believed that the writers of the Bible did not know about any events other than what was going on in their own region and their intermediate neighbors.
Stephen Jay Gould asserted that Agassiz's observations sprang from racist bias, in particular from his revulsion on first encountering African-Americans in the United States.However, others have asserted that, despite favoring polygenism, Agassiz rejected racism and believed in a spiritualized human unity. Agassiz believed God made all men equal, and that intellectualism and morality, as developed in civilization, make men equal before God. Agassiz never supported slavery, and claimed his views on polygenism had nothing to do with politics.
Accusations of racism against Agassiz have prompted the renaming of landmarks, schoolhouses, and other institutions (which abound in Massachusetts) that bear his name.Opinions on these events are often mixed, given his extensive scientific legacy in other areas. In 2007, the Swiss government acknowledged the "racist thinking" of Agassiz but declined to rename the Agassizhorn summit. In 2017, the Swiss Alpine Club declined to revoke Agassiz's status as a member of honor, which he received in 1865 for his scientific work, because the club considered this status to have lapsed on Agassiz's death.
Alexander Emmanuel Rodolphe Agassiz, son of Louis Agassiz and stepson of Elizabeth Cabot Agassiz, was an American scientist and engineer.
William Healey Dall was an American naturalist, a prominent malacologist, and one of the earliest scientific explorers of interior Alaska. He described many mollusks of the Pacific Northwest of America, and was for many years America's preeminent authority on living and fossil mollusks.
Jules Marcou was a French, Swiss and American geologist.
Arnold Henry Guyot was a Swiss-American geologist and geographer.
Karl Christoph Vogt was a German scientist, philosopher and politician who emigrated to Switzerland. Vogt published a number of notable works on zoology, geology and physiology. All his life he was engaged in politics, in the German Frankfurt Parliament of 1848–9 and later in Switzerland.
Elizabeth Cabot Agassiz was an American educator, and the co-founder and first president of Radcliffe College. A researcher of natural history, she was an author and illustrator of natural history texts as well as a co-author of natural history texts with her husband, Louis Agassiz, and her stepson Alexander Agassiz.
Franz Steindachner was an Austrian zoologist, ichthyologist, and herpetologist. He published over 200 papers on fishes and over 50 papers on reptiles and amphibians Steindachner described hundreds of new species of fish and dozens of new amphibians and reptiles. At least seven species of reptile have been named after him.
Prof Otto Martin Torell HFRSE was a Swedish naturalist and geologist.
Pierre Jean Édouard Desor was a German-Swiss geologist and naturalist.
Nathaniel Southgate Shaler was an American paleontologist and geologist who wrote extensively on the theological and scientific implications of the theory of evolution.
Samuel Hubbard Scudder was an American entomologist and paleontologist. He was a leading figure in entomology during his lifetime and the founder of insect paleontology in America. In addition to fossil insects, he was an authority on butterflies (Lepidoptera) and grasshoppers (Orthoptera).
Samuel Walton Garman, or "Garmann" as he sometimes styled himself, was a naturalist/zoologist from Pennsylvania. He became noted as an ichthyologist and herpetologist.
Louis François de Pourtalès was an American naturalist, born at Neuchâtel, Switzerland.
Dr Ramsay Heatley Traquair FRSE FRS LLD was a Scottish naturalist and palaeontologist who became a leading expert on fossil fish.
Maurice Kottelat is a Swiss ichthyologist specializing in Eurasian freshwater fishes.
Jacob Boll was a Swiss naturalist and entomologist especially noted for his exploration of the Texas Red Beds.
Charles Léo Lesquereux was a Swiss bryologist and a pioneer of American paleobotany. He was born in the town of Fleurier, located in the canton of Neuchâtel.
Antoine Sonrel was an illustrator, engraver, and photographer in Switzerland and Boston, Massachusetts, in the 19th century. He moved from Neuchâtel to the United States around the late 1840s, and was affiliated with Louis Agassiz throughout his career. As a photographer he created numerous carte de visite portraits in the 1860s and 1870s; subjects included his friend Agassiz, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Abbott Lawrence Rotch, and sculptor Anne Whitney.
"The Parable of the Sunfish" is an anecdote with which Ezra Pound opens ABC of Reading, a 1934 work of literary criticism. Pound uses this anecdote to emphasize an empirical approach for learning about art, in contrast to relying on commentary rooted in abstraction. While the parable is based on students' recollections of Louis Agassiz's teaching style, Pound's retelling diverges from these sources in several respects. The parable has been used to illustrate the benefits of scientific thinking, but more recent literary criticism has split on whether the parable accurately reflects the scientific process and calls into question Pound's empirical approach to literature.
Lady Eliza Maria Gordon-Cumming was a Scottish aristocrat, horticulturalist, palaeontologist and scientific illustrator. Lady Cumming collected and studied Devonian fish fossils from the Old Red Sandstone of Morayshire, Scotland. She amassed a large and well-known collection which she illustrated, along with her daughter Lady Anne Seymour. Lady Cumming worked with other palaeontologists and geologists of the time including Louis Agassiz, William Buckland and Roderick Murchison.
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