Summer Reading Sale
 
 

Recently Viewed clear list


Original Essays | July 22, 2014

Nick Harkaway: IMG The Florist-Assassins



The three men lit up in my mind's eye, with footnotes. They were converging on me — and on the object I was carrying — in a way that had... Continue »
  1. $18.87 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    Tigerman

    Nick Harkaway 9780385352413

spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$35.00
New Hardcover
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
2 Local Warehouse Biography- Scientists
8 Remote Warehouse Biography- Historical

More copies of this ISBN

Louis Agassiz: Creator of American Science

by

Louis Agassiz: Creator of American Science Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Charismatic and controversial, Louis Agassiz is our least known revolutionary—some fifty years after American independence, he became a founding father of American science.

One hundred and seventy-five years ago, a Swiss immigrant took America by storm, launching American science as we know it. The irrepressible Louis Agassiz, legendary at a young age for his work on mountain glaciers, focused his prodigious energies on the fauna of the New World. Invited to deliver a series of lectures in Boston, he never left, becoming the most famous scientist of his time. A pioneer in field research and an obsessive collector, Agassiz enlisted the American public in a vast campaign to send him natural specimens, dead or alive, for his ingeniously conceived museum of comparative zoology. As an educator of enduring impact, he trained a generation of American scientists and science teachers, men and women alike. Irmscher sheds new light on Agassizs fascinating partnership with his brilliant wife, Elizabeth Cary Agassiz, a science writer in her own right who would go on to become the first president of Radcliffe College. 

But theres a dark side to the story. Irmscher adds unflinching evidence of Agassizs racist impulses and shows how avidly Americans looked to men of science to mediate race policy. The books potent, original scenes include the pitched battle between Agassiz and his student Henry James Clark as well as the merciless, often amusing exchanges between Darwin and Harvard botanist Asa Gray over Agassizs stubborn resistance to evolution.

A fascinating life story, both inspiring and cautionary, for anyone interested in the history of American ideas.

Review:

"Agassiz (1807 — 1873), a defining force in American science in the 19th century, was a complex man, as Irmscher demonstrates in this new biography: he was a brilliant scientist who rejected evolution, a man who valued friendship but abandoned his first wife. In Irmscher's hands, Agassiz's life and passions are embedded in the major intellectual ideas of his time, not only evolution but also the fight over abolition (he was an 'incorrigible racist'). But Agassiz, from his position at Harvard, helped move the scientific enterprise toward reliance upon data and empirical observation. The methods he espoused remain important today even though his theories were outdated in his own time. Irmscher, an English professor at Indiana University (Longfellow Redux), sees Agassiz's life as a cautionary tale: Agassiz lost objectivity as he permitted his own opinions to overshadow the data he loved so much. His attacks on Darwin and on racial equality often ran counter to basic scientific observations and led to his increasing marginalization later in life. The relationship between Agassiz and his second wife, Elizabeth Cabot Agassiz, the first president of Radcliffe College, is also fascinating and illuminates the strength of one woman and the expanding opportunities for women in general in American society. Illus." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

A provocative new life restoring Agassiz--America's most famous natural scientist of the nineteenth century, inventor of the Ice Age, stubborn anti-Darwinist--to his glorious, troubling place in science and culture.

Synopsis:

One hundred and fifty years ago, a Swiss immigrant took America by storm, launching modern American science. The charismatic Louis Agassiz, who first made a name for himself by discovering how glaciers form, was a zoologist by the time he came to deliver a series of lectures in Boston. He never left, becoming the most famous scientist of his time. A pioneer in field research and an obsessive collector, Agassiz enlisted the American public in a vast campaign to send him natural specimens, dead or alive, for his ingeniously conceived museum of comparative zoology. An educator of enduring impact, he trained a generation of American scientists and science teachers, men and women alike.  Christoph Irmscher uncovers the dark side, too, of this founding father of modern American science, revealing him as Darwin's arch-enemy regarding the theory of evolution, and as a racist who put his own stamp on post-Civil War racial policies.   A provocative, fascinating life story—both inspiring and cautionary—for anyone interested in the history of American ideas.

About the Author

Christoph Irmscher, professor of English at Indiana University, is editor of the Library of America John James Audubon and author of Longfellow Redux, called "one of the most important books on Longfellow ever written" (Matthew Pearl, author of The Dante Club and editor of Dante's Inferno: The Longfellow Translation).

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Introduction 1

AGASSIZ AT REST 9

THE ICE KING 41

HUMBOLDTS GIFT 85

DARWINS BARNACLES, AGASSIZS JELLYFISH 121

MR. CLARKS HEADACHE 168

A PINT OF INK 219

A DELICATE BALANCE 270

A GALÁPAGOS PICNIC 311

Epilogue 343

Acknowledgments 349

Chronology 353

Abbreviations and Notes 357

Select Bibliography 403

Index 417

Product Details

ISBN:
9780547577678
Author:
Irmscher, Christoph
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH)
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
Biography-Historical
Subject:
Biography-Scientists
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20130231
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
20 b/w images
Pages:
448
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

Related Subjects

Biography » Historical
Biography » Science and Technology
Featured Titles » Science
Science and Mathematics » Biology » Biographies
Science and Mathematics » History of Science » General

Louis Agassiz: Creator of American Science New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$35.00 In Stock
Product details 448 pages Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) - English 9780547577678 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Agassiz (1807 — 1873), a defining force in American science in the 19th century, was a complex man, as Irmscher demonstrates in this new biography: he was a brilliant scientist who rejected evolution, a man who valued friendship but abandoned his first wife. In Irmscher's hands, Agassiz's life and passions are embedded in the major intellectual ideas of his time, not only evolution but also the fight over abolition (he was an 'incorrigible racist'). But Agassiz, from his position at Harvard, helped move the scientific enterprise toward reliance upon data and empirical observation. The methods he espoused remain important today even though his theories were outdated in his own time. Irmscher, an English professor at Indiana University (Longfellow Redux), sees Agassiz's life as a cautionary tale: Agassiz lost objectivity as he permitted his own opinions to overshadow the data he loved so much. His attacks on Darwin and on racial equality often ran counter to basic scientific observations and led to his increasing marginalization later in life. The relationship between Agassiz and his second wife, Elizabeth Cabot Agassiz, the first president of Radcliffe College, is also fascinating and illuminates the strength of one woman and the expanding opportunities for women in general in American society. Illus." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by ,
A provocative new life restoring Agassiz--America's most famous natural scientist of the nineteenth century, inventor of the Ice Age, stubborn anti-Darwinist--to his glorious, troubling place in science and culture.
"Synopsis" by , One hundred and fifty years ago, a Swiss immigrant took America by storm, launching modern American science. The charismatic Louis Agassiz, who first made a name for himself by discovering how glaciers form, was a zoologist by the time he came to deliver a series of lectures in Boston. He never left, becoming the most famous scientist of his time. A pioneer in field research and an obsessive collector, Agassiz enlisted the American public in a vast campaign to send him natural specimens, dead or alive, for his ingeniously conceived museum of comparative zoology. An educator of enduring impact, he trained a generation of American scientists and science teachers, men and women alike.  Christoph Irmscher uncovers the dark side, too, of this founding father of modern American science, revealing him as Darwin's arch-enemy regarding the theory of evolution, and as a racist who put his own stamp on post-Civil War racial policies.   A provocative, fascinating life story—both inspiring and cautionary—for anyone interested in the history of American ideas.
spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.