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  • I would like to introduce you

  • to one of the most amazing scientists

  • who have ever lived.

  • So famous, that more places on Earth

  • have been named after him than any human being.

  • So famous, that President Thomas Jefferson

  • said he was the most important scientist he ever met.

  • And Simon Bolivar called him the true discoverer of South America.

  • On the 100th anniversary of his birth,

  • every story on the front page of The New York Times

  • was written about him.

  • Who is this scientist

  • and what did he do that was so extraordinary?

  • His name is Alexander Von Humboldt.

  • Never heard of him?

  • Most people haven't.

  • His name has been lost in history,

  • but here is what he did.

  • Alexander Von Humboldt started as a practicing geologist,

  • but when an inheritance allowed him the freedom to travel,

  • he began an incredible, five-year scientific journey

  • through South America,

  • Mexico,

  • and Cuba.

  • From 1799 to 1804,

  • Von Humboldt and his botanist partner, Aime Bonpland,

  • traveled through the jungles of Venezuela,

  • made detailed drawings of Inca ruins

  • while exploring the mountains of Peru,

  • and traversed the breadth of Mexico and Cuba.

  • He explored the length of the Orinoco River in Venezuela.

  • This 1700 mile portion of the trip

  • was filled with danger, disease, and fantastic new discoveries.

  • For example, Von Humboldt was the first explorer

  • to witness the preparation of the curare plant for poison arrows.

  • He recognized the importance of the cinchona tree,

  • whose bark contains quinine,

  • which is a malaria cure,

  • and discovered the ocean current,

  • which limits rainfall on the coast of Peru,

  • later named the Humboldt Current.

  • He discovered and described many new species of plants and animals,

  • including the electric eel.

  • In Ecuador, he climbed the one of the highest volcanoes, Chimborazo,

  • so that he could record air pressure,

  • something no one had ever done at this altitude.

  • The entire journey covered over 24,000 miles,

  • the same distance as the circumference of the Earth.

  • Along the way, he took measurements

  • about the shape of the land,

  • its temperature,

  • the air pressure,

  • and the strength of magnetic fields.

  • By connecting places of identical temperatures,

  • he created contour maps with lines of similar temperatures,

  • which he called "isotherms".

  • Because Humboldt invented these maps,

  • scientists began to see patterns

  • in the life

  • and the types of life

  • present in certain places,

  • and he became a pioneer

  • in the visual presentation of scientific data.

  • These discoveries and measurements were critical

  • to what made him such an important scientist.

  • Until Humboldt, scientists who described new plants and animals

  • did not clearly see the crucial connection

  • between living things

  • and the places in which they lived,

  • called habitats.

  • They did not appreciate the role of the environment

  • on the diversity of life.

  • Humboldt discovered and understood the importance

  • of these connections.

  • Because of this,

  • he is considered the founder of biogeography.

  • He also developed a theory called the "Unity of Nature,"

  • which shows the interconnectedness of all nature.

  • This knowledge plays a vital role

  • in the preservation and protection of our habitat.

  • His book, Cosmos, describes this theory

  • and is still in print today.

  • As celebrated a scientist as he was,

  • Von Humboldt was also generous,

  • thus serving another role in the world.

  • He was the mentor and teacher to younger scientists.

  • In fact, just recently it was discovered

  • the crucial role that Humboldt played in the work

  • of his most famous pen-pal,

  • Charles Darwin.

  • A young Darwin read Humboldt extensively

  • and wrote in his diary while on the Beagle,

  • "I am at present fit only to read Humboldt.

  • He, like another sun, illuminates everything I behold."

  • Today, although Humboldt is known and revered

  • by a small community of scientists,

  • he is almost totally forgotten by many of us.

  • Alexander Von Humboldt's influence is apparent

  • everywhere and in every scientific discipline.

  • He is, perhaps, the most important forgotten man of science.

  • But he doesn't have to be,

  • because if you remember him,

  • perhaps his influence will be celebrated.

I would like to introduce you

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B1 中級

TED-ED】アレクサンダー・フォン・フンボルトとは?- ジョージ・メーラー (【TED-Ed】Who is Alexander von Humboldt? - George Mehler)

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    wikiHuang に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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