Saussure, Horace Bénédict de

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Saussure, Horace Bénédict de

(ôräs` bānādēkt` də sōsür`), 1740–99, Swiss physicist and geologist. He was professor at the Univ. of Geneva from 1762 to 1786. He is famous for his studies of the geology, meteorology, and botany of the mountainous regions of Europe, particularly the Alps. These are described in his great work, Voyages dans les Alpes (4 vol., 1779–96).
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Saussure, Horace Bénédict de


Born Feb. 17, 1740, in Conches, near Geneva; died Jan. 22,1799, in Geneva. Swiss naturalist, the first scientist to investigate the geological structure of the Alps. Professor of natural philosophy at Geneva (1762–86).

Saussure, whose work marked the beginning of the science of descriptive geology, described in detail the occurrence of alpine rocks and the conditions responsible for their formation. He cited the Alps as evidence confirming P. S. Pallas’ theory that strata in the central portion of mountain regions are more steeply inclined than outlying strata. Saussure also did research in meteorology, glaciology, and botany. His name has been given to the finegrained mineral aggregate saussurite.


Voyages dans les Alpes, vols. 1–4. Geneva-Neuchätel, 1779–96.


Belousov, V. V. “O. B. Sossiur—pervyi issledovatel’ stroeniia Al’p.” Priroda, 1940, no. 1.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.