Lecture: The Invention of Nature - Alexander von Humboldt’s New World

  • Date: Jun 24, 2024
  • Time: 07:30 PM - 09:00 PM (Local Time Germany)
  • Speaker: Andrea Wulf
  • Location: Volkshaus Jena - Carl-Zeiss-Platz 15, 07743 Jena
  • Host: Max Planck Institute of Geoanthropology
  • Contact: org@gea.mpg.de
Lecture: The Invention of Nature - Alexander von Humboldt’s New World

In this beautifully illustrated talk, award winning and bestselling author Andrea Wulf tells the story of Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859), the great scientist and intrepid explorer who has more things named after him than anyone else. His restless life was packed with adventure and discovery, whether exploring deep into the rainforest or climbing the world’s highest volcanoes. He turned scientific observation into poetic narrative, and his writings inspired naturalists and poets such as Darwin and Goethe but also politicians such as Jefferson and Bolivar. Humboldt explained nature as a complex web of life and interconnected global force – a concept that still shapes our thinking today. He described earth as a living organism that could easily be destroyed by humankind and predicted harmful human–induced climate change already in 1800. Using many dozens of Humboldt’s own drawings, engravings, maps and manuscripts as well as the lush and colourful pages from her illustrated book, ‘The Adventures of Alexander von Humboldt’, Wulf brings this forgotten father of environmentalism back to life.

The lecture will be held in English and take place at Jena's historic Volkshaus. It is open to the public free of charge. No registration is required but attendance is limited, so arrive early to be sure of getting a seat. Guests are welcome to bring their own refreshments.

The lecture is part of the "Crossing Boundaries 2024: The Anthropocene" conference, hosted by the Max Planck Institute of Geoanthropology and the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. The conference will bring together scholars from a range of disciplines with the goal of better understanding the challenges of the Anthropocene and developing strategies to address them.

Author Bio

Andrea Wulf is an award-winning author of several books, including the international bestseller ‘The Invention of Nature. Alexander von Humboldt’s New World’ which is published in 27 languages. A New York Times bestseller, it also won fifteen international literary awards, including the Royal Society Science Book Prize 2016 and Costa Biography Award (UK) and the LA Times Book Prize 2015 (US). Her latest book Magnificent Rebels was published under great acclaim in autumn 2022. Andrea has written for many newspapers including the Guardian, The Atlantic and New York Times. She's a member of PEN American Center, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a Miller Scholar at the Santa Fe Institute.

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