Humbled by Humboldt?

I certainly am!

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I’ve been reading a lot about Alexander von Humboldt recently (thanks to this community) and I am astonished by his life and legacy. Explorer, geographer, author, scholar, scientist and mentor – he significantly influenced the scientific movement of the nineteenth century. Numerous species, places and buildings are named in honour of Humboldt. He was awarded the Copley medal and held membership for several learned societies. He also reached 89 years of age. What a life.

We hope you enjoyed the dedicated channel we put together for the anniversary of Humboldt’s 250th birthday and a huge thank you to all that contributed; some highlights below.

Patrick Roberts takes us back to eighteenth century Jena, Germany where Humboldt participated in scholarly debates that shaped his career and the academic reputation of Jena today.

If Alexander von Humboldt was alive today, what would you ask him? Indre Zliobaite imagines how a conversation would go when they met in 2016.

Tanita WeinI details the influence Humboldt had on a younger Charles Darwin!

In 1802 Humboldt spent four days on the slopes of the Andean volcano: Antisana. In 2017 a team of Ecuadorian and French botanists and ecologists followed the same route. Pierre Moret recounts both expeditions.

Between 1799 and 1804 Humboldt travelled extensively in Latin America, exploring, observing and documenting what he saw in a travel diary which amounted to 4000 pages by the end of the trip. Thomas Smith considers how far we’ve come in terms of documenting biodiversity since this extraordinary expedition, and Nicola Clerici examines the threats facing biodiversity in a post-conflict Colombia.

Zhong-Jian Liu describes how Humboldt’s principles have inspired his own research on orchids, and Kris Wyckhuys argues that Humboldtian perspectives are needed to effectivity peruse agricultural, environmental and ecology change for a sustainable future.

Happy Birthday Humboldt!

Poster image: Humboldt's Chimborazo Map 

Ruth Milne

Past Springer Nature Staff Member, Springer Nature