Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859) was a naturalist, explorer and philanthropist now well known for his multidisciplinary approach to science. First published in English in 1873, this two-volume biography was translated from the German edition of 1872, edited by Karl Bruhns, which had been compiled in commemoration of the centenary of Humboldt’s birth. Incorporating numerous extracts of Humboldt’s own warmly written letters and anecdotes from his many acquaintances, it charts his travels in South America, Asia and Europe. Volume 1 covers his early exploratory trips and some of his lesser known exploits, including becoming Superintendent of Mines in Northern Bavaria and his research on the sixteenth-century eruption of Nevado del Altar in Ecuador. Volume 2 covers his later life, exploring an impecunious period in Paris at the École Polytechnique, where he shared rooms with the French chemist Gay-Lussac, and his later association with Frederick William IV of Prussia.
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