26 feb
Studium Generale | Lezing

Humboldt and the Birth of Ecology


Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) is a forgotten genius of the first magnitude. He was the most famous scientist of his age, a visionary German naturalist and polymath whose discoveries forever changed the way we understand the natural world. 

He inspired Darwin and many others and was the inventor of ecology and environmentalism. Among his most revolutionary ideas was a radical conception of nature as a complex and interconnected global force. He already predicted human-induced climate change.

Humboldt famously ascended Ecuador's Chimborazo volcano, which he saw as more than just a towering summit. For him, it was a gateway to comprehending the interconnectedness of nature. Humboldt's ascent of Chimborazo embodies his lifelong quest to untangle the intricate relationships between geology, climate and ecology.

In this lecture, Norbert Peeters will express why Humboldt's legacy persists and how he was the first to provide us with a glimpse into the unity of nature.

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