Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) is the great lost scientist: more things are named after him than anyone else. There are towns, rivers, mountain ranges, the ocean current that runs along the South American coast, there's a penguin, a giant squid – even the Mare Humboldtianum on the moon.
His colourful adventures read like something out of a Boy's Own story: Humboldt explored deep into the rainforest, climbed the world's highest volcanoes and inspired princes and presidents, scientists and poets alike. Napoleon was jealous of him; Simon Bolívar's revolution was fuelled by his ideas; Darwin set sail on the Beagle because of Humboldt; and Jules Verne's Captain Nemo owned all his many books. He simply was, as one contemporary put it, 'the greatest man since the Deluge'.
Taking us on a fantastic voyage in his footsteps – racing across anthrax-infected Russia or mapping tropical rivers alive with crocodiles – Andrea Wulf shows why his life and ideas remain so important today. Humboldt predicted human-induced climate change as early as 1800, and A Invenção da Natureza traces his ideas as they go on to revolutionize and shape science, conservation, nature writing, politics, art and the theory of evolution. He wanted to know and understand everything and his way of thinking was so far ahead of his time that it's only coming into its own now. Alexander von Humboldt really did invent the way we see nature.
Summary in Portuguese:
A invenção da natureza revela a extraordinária vida do explorador, geógrafo e naturalista alemão Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859), o cientista mais conhecido de seu tempo. Com suas descobertas, fruto de expedições pelo mundo afora (escalando os vulcões mais altos do mundo, cruzando a Sibéria em plena epidemia de praga, navegando pela então ameaçadora Amazônia), gerou inveja em Napoleão Bonaparte, inspirou Simón Bolívar em sua revolução e Darwin a zarpar com seu navio Beagle. Sua história é contada neste livro de forma saborosa e profunda, partindo de uma ampla pesquisa sobre o homem que concebeu a maneira como vemos a natureza hoje. Best-seller nos Estados Unidos e na Inglaterra, e com os direitos vendidos a mais de 20 países, A invenção da natureza foi aclamado pela crítica e ganhou prêmios como o Costa Biography Award e o Los Angeles Times Book Prize de 2016.