From the #HistoryOfUs series: Alexander von Humboldt (1809)
US President Thomas Jefferson called him "the most scientific man of the age"...
... and US Secretary of the Treasury, Albert Gallatin, said of meeting him, "I was delighted and swallowed more information of various kinds in less than two hours than I had for two years past in all I had read or heard."
Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859) had everything you need to be the most interesting man in the world: curiosity, drive, a brilliant mind, luck, contacts, plenty of money and a burning wanderlust that pushed him all around the world.
He explored the Orinoco river, broke climbing records on Andean volcanoes, surveyed the width of Mexico, catalogued the plants and animals of Cuba, prospected across the steppes of Russia, experimented with electricity and magnetic fields.
The vast fruits of his labours he published in multiple volumes that kick-started whole fields of science.
More things are named after Alexander von Humboldt than any other human being: from mountains to rivers, from glaciers to lunar seas, from towns to universities, and species of orchid to penguins...
...including the soon-to-be-opened Humboldt Forum close to Berlin's Museum Island.
Portrait of Alexander von Humboldt by Friedrich Georg WeitschAlte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz