The acclaimed author of Founding Gardeners reveals the forgotten life of Alexander von Humboldt, the visionary German naturalist whose ideas changed the way we see the natural world—and in the process created modern environmentalism. NATIONAL BEST SELLER One of the New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, The James Wright Award for Nature Writing, the Costa Biography Award, the Royal Geographic Society's Ness Award, the Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award Finalist for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, the Kirkus Prize Prize for Nonfiction, the Independent Bookshop Week Book Award A Best Book of the Year: The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Economist, Nature, Jezebel, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, New Scientist, The Independent, The Telegraph, The Sunday Times, The Evening Standard, The Spectator Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859) was an intrepid explorer and the most famous scientist of his age. In North America, his name still graces four counties, thirteen towns, a river, parks, bays, lakes, and mountains. His restless life was packed with adventure and discovery, whether he was climbing the highest volcanoes in the world or racing through anthrax-infected Siberia or translating his research into bestselling publications that changed science and thinking. Among Humboldt’s most revolutionary ideas was a radical vision of nature, that it is a complex and interconnected global force that does not exist for the use of humankind alone. Now Andrea Wulf brings the man and his achievements back into focus: his daring expeditions and investigation of wild environments around the world and his discoveries of similarities between climate and vegetation zones on different continents. She also discusses his prediction of human-induced climate change, his remarkable ability to fashion poetic narrative out of scientific observation, and his relationships with iconic figures such as Simón Bolívar and Thomas Jefferson. Wulf examines how Humboldt’s writings inspired other naturalists and poets such as Darwin, Wordsworth, and Goethe, and she makes the compelling case that it was Humboldt’s influence that led John Muir to his ideas of natural preservation and that shaped Thoreau’s Walden. With this brilliantly researched and compellingly written book, Andrea Wulf shows the myriad fundamental ways in which Humboldt created our understanding of the natural world, and she champions a renewed interest in this vital and lost player in environmental history and science. From the Hardcover edition.
the invention of nature
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PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS A GUIDE TO THE ORIGINAL BOOK. Guide to Andrea Wulf's The Invention of Nature Preview: The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf is a biography of Alexander von Humboldt, a Prussian naturalist born in 1769. Humboldt had an older brother, Wilhelm. Their father died when they were young, and their mother was emotionally detached from her sons. Alexander and Wilhelm received exacting educations. Alexander became interested in exploration and science, but his mother pressured him to become a civil servant, so he attended a mining academy to become a mine inspector while conducting his own botanical research. He invented new tools for miners, published books on subterranean plants and rocks, and experimented with the effect of electricity on the nervous system... Inside this companion: - Summary of the book - Important People - Character Analysis - Analysis of the Themes and Author's Style
WINNER OF THE 2015 COSTA BIOGRAPHY AWARD WINNER OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY SCIENCE BOOK PRIZE 2016 'A thrilling adventure story' Bill Bryson 'Dazzling' Literary Review 'Brilliant' Sunday Express 'Extraordinary and gripping' New Scientist 'A superb biography' The Economist 'An exhilarating armchair voyage' GILES MILTON, Mail on Sunday Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) is the great lost scientist - more things are named after him than anyone else. There are towns, rivers, mountain ranges, the ocean current that runs along the South American coast, there's a penguin, a giant squid - even the Mare Humboldtianum on the moon. His colourful adventures read like something out of a Boy's Own story: Humboldt explored deep into the rainforest, climbed the world's highest volcanoes and inspired princes and presidents, scientists and poets alike. Napoleon was jealous of him; Simon Bolívar's revolution was fuelled by his ideas; Darwin set sail on the Beagle because of Humboldt; and Jules Verne's Captain Nemo owned all his many books. He simply was, as one contemporary put it, 'the greatest man since the Deluge'. Taking us on a fantastic voyage in his footsteps - racing across anthrax-infected Russia or mapping tropical rivers alive with crocodiles - Andrea Wulf shows why his life and ideas remain so important today. Humboldt predicted human-induced climate change as early as 1800, and The Invention of Nature traces his ideas as they go on to revolutionize and shape science, conservation, nature writing, politics, art and the theory of evolution. He wanted to know and understand everything and his way of thinking was so far ahead of his time that it's only coming into its own now. Alexander von Humboldt really did invent the way we see nature.
A ground breaking study of how sustainability became a social and political problem, and how to think about it today.
This investigation of time and space is motivated by gaps in our current understanding: by the lack of definitions, by our failure to appreciate the nature of these entities, by our inability to pin down their properties. The author's approach is based on two key ideas: The first idea is to seek the geo-historical origins of time and space concepts. A thorough investigation of a diversified archaeological corpus, allows him to draft coherent definitions; it furthermore gives clues as to whether time and space were discovered or invented. The second idea is to define the units before trying to define space and time. The results presented here are unexpected: Time and space were not discovered in nature, but they were invented; time is not a phenomenon and space has no materiality; they are only concepts. This runs contrary to the opinion of most scientific and the philosophical authorities, although one would seek in vain for a theoretical validation of the conventional position. This book will provide much food for thought for philosophers and scientists, as well as interested general readers.
The Invention of Culture, one of the most important works in symbolic anthropology in recent years, argues that culture is not a given that shapes the lives of the people who share it. Rather, it is people who shape their culture by constantly manipulating conventional symbols taken from a variety of everchanging codes to create new meanings. Wagner sees culture arising from the dialectic between the individual and the social world; his analysis is situated in the relation between invention and convention, innovation and control, meaning and context. Finally, the author points out that the symbolization processes that generate the construction of meaning in culture are the same as those that anthropologists use to "invent" the cultures they study.