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Louis Agassiz
Louis Agassiz H6.jpg
Born (1807-05-28)May 28, 1807
Haut-Vully, Switzerland
Died December 14, 1873(1873-12-14) (aged 66)
Alma mater University of Erlangen-Nuremberg
Awards Wollaston Medal (1836)
Scientific career
Author abbrev. (zoology) Agassiz, Ag., L.Ag., Agass.
Appletons' Agassiz Jean Louis Rudolphe signature.svg

Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz (May 28, 1807 – December 14, 1873) was a Swiss-born and European-trained biologist and geologist. His work on natural history in Europe and the Americas was important.

His reputation now is less good, because he fought against the theory of evolution, and held wrong ideas about human races. He thought the different human races were of different origins. This idea is called "polygenism". Darwin's comment at the end is interesting:

"...when the principle of evolution is generally accepted, as it surely will be before long, the dispute between the monogenists and the polygenists will die a silent and unobserved death".

After visiting Harvard University in mid-career, he emigrated to the U.S. in 1847 and became a professor of zoology and geology at Harvard. He founded its Museum of Comparative Zoology.

Agassiz made extensive contributions to ichthyology (including extinct species). He founded glaciology, the study of ice fields and ice ages.

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