The Royal Society has announced Andrea Wulf as the 29th winner of the Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize for The Invention of Nature, her biography of Alexander von Humboldt, an explorer, naturalist and foreign member of the Royal Society.
Dubbed “the Shakespeare of the sciences” by his contemporaries, Humboldt inspired scientists, thinkers and writers including Darwin, Wordsworth and Jules Verne with his pioneering idea of nature being one giant organism in which everything is connected.
Yet, in the English-speaking world, he faded from collective memory, despite having more things named after him than anyone who has ever lived. His namesakes include the Humboldt Current – the cold ocean current that hugs South America — mountain ranges in China, New Zealand and South Africa; a breed of penguins in South America; a river in Brazil; a glacier in Greenland; 13 towns in North America and a predatory six-foot squid. And his influence wasn’t limited to this planet; on the moon there is a basaltic plane named Humboldtianum.
Read the full announcement from RoyalSociety.org.
Read the first chapter (pdf) from RoyalSociety.org.
View the catalogue entry.