Louis Agassiz

Louis Agassiz

Born(1807-05-28)May 28, 1807
DiedDecember 14, 1873(1873-12-14) (aged 66)
CitizenshipUnited States
EducationUniversity of Erlangen-Nuremberg (PhD)
University of Munich
Known forIce age, Polygenism
Children3, including Alexander and Pauline
AwardsWollaston Medal (1836)
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Neuchâtel
Harvard University
Cornell University
Doctoral advisorCarl Friedrich Philipp von Martius
Other academic advisorsIgnaz Döllinger, Georges Cuvier, Alexander von Humboldt[1]
Notable studentsWilliam Stimpson, William Healey Dall, Carl Vogt,[1] David Starr Jordan
Author abbrev. (zoology)Agassiz, Ag., L. Ag., Agass.

Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz (/ˈæɡəsi/ AG-ə-see; French: [aɡasi]) FRS (For) FRSE (May 28, 1807 – December 14, 1873) was a Swiss-born American biologist and geologist who is recognized as a scholar of Earth's natural history.

Spending his early life in Switzerland, he received a PhD at Erlangen and a medical degree in Munich. After studying with Georges Cuvier and Alexander von Humboldt in Paris, Agassiz was appointed professor of natural history at the University of Neuchâtel. He emigrated to the United States in 1847 after visiting Harvard University. 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.

Agassiz is known for observational data gathering and analysis. He made institutional and scientific contributions to zoology, geology, and related areas, including multivolume research books running to thousands of pages. He is particularly known for his contributions to ichthyological classification, including of extinct species such as megalodon, and to the study of historical geology, including the founding of glaciology.

His theories on human, animal and plant polygenism have been criticised as implicitly supporting scientific racism.

  1. ^ a b Nicolaas A. Rupke, Alexander von Humboldt: A Metabiography, University of Chicago Press, 2008, p. 54.

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