In The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World, author Andrea Wulf reveals the extraordinary life of the visionary German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) and explores 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. Humboldt was an intrepid explorer and the most famous scientist of his age. His restless life was packed with adventure and discovery, whether climbing the highest volcanoes in the world or racing through anthrax-infested Siberia. Perceiving nature as an interconnected global force, Humboldt discovered similarities between climate zones across the world and predicted human-induced climate change. 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. Wulf traces Humboldt’s influences through the great minds he inspired in revolution, evolution, ecology, conservation, art, and literature. The Invention of Nature will be available for sale and signing.
Event is free and open to the public. Advance registration required. For more information and to register, visit the website.
This event is part of the New York History of Science Lecture Series.
New York University
Gallatin School of Individualized Study
Columbia University in the City of New York
City University of New York
The New York Academy of Sciences
The New York Academy of Medicine