Though nearly forgotten today, the visionary German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859) was immensely popular in his time. An intrepid explorer and the most famous scientist of his age, Humboldt perceived nature as an interconnected global force. He turned scientific observation into poetic narrative, and his writings inspired naturalists and poets such as Darwin, Wordsworth and Goethe and politicians such as Thomas Jefferson.
In her newest book, The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World, Andrea Wulf explores Humboldt’s extraordinary life and work. On Sat., Nov. 5, join the New York Times bestselling author for a discussion of how Humboldt created the way we understand nature today. Sponsored by Adkins Arboretum, the program begins at 4 p.m. at the Academy Art Museum in Easton.
Described as “an absolutely stupendous biography” and “scholarly but extremely good fun,” The Invention of Nature details Humboldt’s restless life, packed with the adventure and discovery of climbing the world’s highest volcanoes, paddling the Orinoco and racing through anthrax-infested Siberia. Wulf traces Humboldt’s influences through the great minds he shaped in revolution, evolution, ecology, conservation, art and literature, and brings this lost hero of science and the father of environmentalism back to life. The Invention of Nature is the recipient of rave reviews and numerous book awards and was listed on the New York Times’ “10 Best Books of 2015.”
Author of The Brother Gardeners, Founding Gardeners and Chasing Venus, and co-author of This Other Eden, Wulf has lectured around the world, from the Royal Geographical Society and Royal Society in London to Monticello and the New York Public Library in the US. She is a three-time fellow of the International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello and was the Eccles British Library Writer in Residence 2013. She has written for the New York Times, the Atlantic, the LA Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian and many others.
The program is $15 for Arboretum members and $20 for non-members. A reception with light refreshments and a book signing will follow. Advance registration is requested at adkinsarboretum.org or by calling 410-634-2847, ext. 0.