Conference “Alexander von Humboldt in Context”

Darwin considered him the greatest scientific traveller who ever lived. Goethe called him a true cornucopia of the sciences. 2019 marks the 250th anniversary of Alexander von Humboldt, the explorer and polymath who has made countless significant contributions in many scientific fields. The vivid narratives of his long and often dangerous expeditions to the Andes, the United States, and Russia fascinated numerous readers. He worked tirelessly to build networks all around the world, connecting observations and findings, cultures and continents.

However, there are also tensions detectable in his works. On the one hand, Humboldt committed himself to meticulous empirical research rather than forming hypotheses and theories. He refrained from speculating about the history of nature and confined himself to collecting the actually accessible facts. On the other hand, there are also passages in Humboldt’s writings where he points out that the study of nature is not exhausted by a purely descriptive science. He rather seems to suggest that we conceive of nature as a kind of unity that transcends particular phenomena.

This international symposium is dedicated to exploring the impact of the work and the activities of Alexander von Humboldt in the context of his time, with particular focus on selected contemporaries.


Here you can find Poster und Program of the conference.

Date: 30/10/2019 - 31/10/2019
Location: Universitätsclub Bonn e.V.
Konviktstraße 9
53113 Bonn