The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World
Sunday, May 22, 2016 2:00PM-3:00PM
Andrea Wulf reveals in her new book the extraordinary life of the visionary German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) and how he created the way we understand nature today. Though almost forgotten today, his name lingers everywhere from the Humboldt Current to the Humboldt penguin. An intrepid explorer and the most famous scientist of his age, his restless life was packed with adventure and discovery. He turned scientific observation into poetic narrative, and his writings inspired naturalists and poets such as Darwin, Wordsworth, and Goethe but also politicians such as Jefferson. Wulf argues that it was Humboldt’s influence that led John Muir to his ideas of preservation and that shaped Thoreau’s ‘Walden’. In The Invention of Nature, Wulf brings this lost hero to science and the forgotten father of environmentalism back to life.