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Louis Agassiz And American Science

Stanford University zoology building with fallen statue of zoologist Louis Agassiz implanted (1906).

Stanford University zoology building with fallen statue of zoologist Louis Agassiz implanted (1906).

Louis Agassiz didn’t believe in Darwinian evolution and thought that the U.S. belonged to whites only — and yet, he has been deemed the “creator of American science.” Author Christoph Irmscher chronicles the life of a brilliant scientist full of contradictions.

Irmscher will be appearing at the First Parish Church in Harvard Square on Tuesday, February 5th at 7pm.


Christoph Irmscher, author of the new book Louis Agassiz: Creator of American Science.


New York Times “During the California earthquake of 1906, the marble statue of Louis Agassiz toppled off the second story of Stanford University’s zoology building and plunged headfirst into the ground. The great scientist, with his head buried in concrete, his upturned body sticking up into air, became an iconic image of the earthquake.” Here’s that image, by the way.

Nature “In Christoph Irmscher’s balanced and humanistic biography, Agassiz emerges as a genius in natural history and a kind of Svengali for students and the public alike. Yet his stubborn egocentrism eventually undid much of his scientific legacy.”


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Hosts Meghna Chakrabarti and Anthony Brooks introduce us to newsmakers, big thinkers and artists and bring us stories of relevance to Bostonians here and around the region. Live every weekday at 3.

WBUR's Sacha Pfeiffer is co-hosting Radio Boston while Meghna Chakrabarti is on maternity leave.

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