A Science Hero, Lost and Found
Alexander von Humboldt was a globetrotting explorer, scientist, environmentalist, and the second-most famous man in Europe…after Napoleon. So why haven’t you heard of him? Writer and historian Andrea Wulf’s new book, The Invention of Nature, aims to restore Humboldt to his rightful place in science history. Not only did this singular polymath pioneer the idea that nature is an interconnected system, but, Wulf argues, he was also the lost father of environmentalism. Ira speaks with Wulf about the man who inspired the likes of Darwin, Thoreau, and Muir, whom contemporaries called “the Shakespeare of the Sciences.” Read an excerpt here.
Andrea Wulf is the author of The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World (Knopf, 2015) and The Founding Gardeners (Knopf, 2011). She’s based in London, England.