Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz, a Swiss-American biologist and geologist recognized as an innovative and prodigious scholar of Earth’s natural history. Agassiz grew up in Switzerland, and studied and received Doctor of Philosophy and medical degrees at Erlangen and Munich, respectively. After further studies with Cuvier and von Humboldt in Paris, Agassiz proceeded with research leading to his appointment as professor of natural history at University of Neuchâtel.
After visiting Harvard University mid-career, he emigrated to the U.S. in 1847 and became a professor of zoology and geology at Harvard, and to head its Lawrence Scientific School and found its Museum of Comparative Zoology. Agassiz made extensive contributions to ichthyological classification (including of extinct species) and to the study of geological history (including to the founding of glaciology), and has become broadly known through study of his thorough regimen of observational data gathering and analysis. He made vast institutional and scientific contributions to zoology, geology, and related areas—including many multi-volume research series running to thousands of pages.
Born in Switzerland, 1807-1873
Biologist and Geologist
Developed the Ice Age concept
Fellow of the Royal Society, 1838
Wollaston Medal. 1836
“The study of Nature is intercourse with the Highest Mind. You should never trifle with Nature.”
“Every scientific truth goes through three states: first, people say it conflicts with the Bible; next, they say it has been discovered before; lastly, they say they always believed it.”
“Facts are stupid until brought into connection with some general law.”