Agassiz, Louis

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Agassiz, Louis

(Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz) (zhäN lwē rôdôlf` ăg`əsē), 1807–73, Swiss-American zoologist and geologist, b. Môtiers-en-Vuly, Switzerland. He studied at the universities of Zürich, Erlangen (Ph.D., 1829), Heidelberg, and Munich (M.D., 1830). Agassiz practiced medicine briefly, but his real interest lay in scientific research. In 1831 he went to Paris, where he became a close friend of Alexander von HumboldtHumboldt, Alexander, Freiherr von
, 1769–1859, German naturalist, inventor, explorer, and author, the most eminent scientist of his time. His full name is Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander von Humboldt.
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 and studied fossil fishes under the guidance of CuvierCuvier, Georges Léopold Chrétien Frédéric Dagobert, Baron
, 1769–1832, French naturalist, b. Montbéliard, studied at the academy of Stuttgart. From 1795 he taught in the Jardin des Plantes.
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. In 1832 he became a professor of natural history at the Univ. of Neuchâtel, which he made a noted center for scientific study. Among his publications during this period were Recherches sur les poissons fossiles (5 vol. and atlas, 1833–44), a work of historic importance in the field (although his system of classification by scales has been discarded); studies of fossil echinoderms and mollusks; and Étude sur les glaciers (1840), one of the first expositions of glacial movements and deposits, based on his own observations and measurements.

Agassiz came to the United States in 1846 and two years later accepted the professorship of zoology and geology at Harvard. His first wife died in Germany in 1848, and in 1850 in Cambridge he married Elizabeth Cabot Cary (see Agassiz, Elizabeth Cabot CaryAgassiz, Elizabeth Cabot Cary
, 1822–1907, American author and educator, b. Boston. In 1850 she married Louis Agassiz, and together they established the pioneering Agassiz School for girls in Boston (1856–65).
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). In the United States he was primarily a teacher and very popular lecturer. His influence extended to the fields of zoology, paleontology, geology, anatomy, and glaciology. Emphasizing advanced and original work, he gave major impetus to the study of science directly from nature and influenced a generation of American scientists. His extensive research expeditions included one along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the Americas from Boston to California (1871–72). His Contributions to the Natural History of the United States (4 vol., 1857–62) includes his famous "Essay on Classification," an extension of the theory of recapitulationrecapitulation,
theory, stated as the biogenetic law by E. H. Haeckel, that the embryological development of the individual repeats the stages in the evolutionary development of the species.
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 to geologic time. Despite his own evidences for evolution, Agassiz opposed DarwinismDarwinism,
concept of evolution developed in the mid-19th cent. by Charles Robert Darwin. Darwin's meticulously documented observations led him to question the then current belief in special creation of each species.
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 and believed that new species could arise only through the intervention of God.


See biographies by J. Marcou (including letters, 1896), J. D. Teller (1947), E. Lurie (1960, repr. 1967), and C. Irmscher (2013); L. Cooper, Louis Agassiz as a Teacher (rev. ed. 1945).

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Agassiz, (Jean) Louis (Rodolphe)

(1807–73) geologist; born in Motier-en-Vuly, Switzerland. He received an M.D. in Erlangen, Germany (1830), but preferred his early interest in natural science. He became professor of natural history at Neuchâtel, Switzerland (1832), and combined ichthyology, geology, and paleontology in his five-volume classic, Récherches sur les Poissons Fossiles (1833–44). His studies of Alpine glaciers and glacial boulders led to his monumental works, Études sur les Glaciers (1840) and Système Glaciaire (1847), which demonstrated the existence of a geologically recent ice age. In 1846 Agassiz came to the U.S.A. on a lecture tour, and was appointed professor of natural history at Harvard (1847–73). He founded Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology in 1859. With his second wife, Elizabeth Cabot Cary (1822–1907), he conducted a young ladies school in Cambridge; a naturalist and educator herself, she later became president of the Society for Collegiate Instruction of Women and its successor, Radcliffe College (1894). A popular lecturer who opposed Darwin's theories on religious grounds, Agassiz continued to teach, publish, and make zoological expeditions until his death.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
References in periodicals archive ?
(3.) Charles Frederic Girard (1822-1895) was educated at Neuchatel, where he became associated with Louis Agassiz, first as a student and later as an assistant.
Rogers was no Faraday, but he did direct a state-wide geological survey, write over one hundred chemistry, physics, and geology articles and presentations, spar with Louis Agassiz over evolution, and organize an institute of technology based on European models of science instruction.
And before we can do that, we need to lay to rest a misperception about Hemingway's science education--the belief that his years at Oak Park High School lacked any significant exposure to Darwinian content and were instead dominated by the anti-evolutionary teachings of Louis Agassiz. In this essay, I will present clear evidence to the contrary and will show that Hemingway indeed received extensive exposure to Darwinian science in his high school zoology class in 1915-16.
Este movimiento se popularizo en Estados Unidos debido principalmente a Louis Agassiz y, en parte, a la obra de Samuel George Morton [2].
1959): 87-108; Edward Lurie, Louis Agassiz: A Life in Science (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1960), 252-302.
Every scientific truth goes through three states: Louis Agassiz first, people say it conflicts with the Bible; next, they say it has been discovered before, lastly, they say they always believed it.
The first inklings of the role ice has played in shaping the world emerged in the late 1830s, when Swiss-born scientist Louis Agassiz postulated that large sheets of ice once covered much of the globe.
A leading proponent of such instruction was Harvard naturalist Louis Agassiz, who promoted exploratory drawing and writing as a means of understanding.
Scientists inclined to draw invidious distinctions among groups of individuals, as zoologist Louis Agassiz was, misused their science to confirm the supposedly primitive traits of "inferior" races.
Fellow Harvard professor Jean Louis Agassiz denounced Darwin's views as "a scientific mistake," but Gray championed Darwin's work.