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Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz

Birthplace: Motier, canton Fribourg, Switzerland
Death: December 14, 1873 (66)
Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States
Place of Burial: Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Rev. Louis Benjamin Agassiz and Rose Agassiz
Husband of Cècile Agassiz and Elizabeth Cabot Agassiz
Father of Alexander Emanuel Rodolphus Agassiz; Ida Olympe Frederika Higginson and Pauline Elizabeth Augusta Shaw

Occupation: Paleontologist, Glaciologist, Geologist
Managed by: Erica Howton
Last Updated:

About Louis Agassiz

Louis Agassiz, Jean Louis Rudolphe, naturalist, b. in Motier, canton Fribourg, Switzerland, 28 May, 1807; d. in Cambridge, Mass., 14 Dec., 1873.

He was a Swiss paleontologist, glaciologist, geologist and a prominent innovator in the study of the Earth's natural history, including, in 1837, to be the first to scientifically propose that the Earth had been subject to a past ice age.

His father was pastor of the Protestant parish of Motier, a profession which his forefathers had for six generations; his mother, Mlle. Rose Mayor, was the daughter of a physician residing in Cudrefin, canton de Vaud. His first studies at home were directed by his mother, who was a woman of high endowments and rare culture.

Agassiz received the degree of LL. D. from the universities of Edinburgh and Dublin before he was thirty years of age. In 1836 he was elected to the French academy of sciences, and in the same year he was made a fellow of the royal society of London. He was also a member of nearly all the learned and scientific societies in Europe. In the United States, he was a member of the American association for the advancement of science, of the American academy of arts and sciences, of the Boston natural history society, and of many other scientific organizations. He was also an original member of the national academy of sciences.

By 1857 he was so well-loved that his friend Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote "The fiftieth birthday of Agassiz" in his honor. His own writing continued with four (of a planned ten) volumes of Natural History of the United States which were published from 1857 to 1862. During this time he also published a catalog of papers in his field, Bibliographia Zoologiae et Geologiae, in four volumes between 1848 and 1854.


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Louis Agassiz's Timeline

May 28, 1807
Motier, canton Fribourg, Switzerland
December 17, 1835
Neuchatel, Neuchâtel, Canton of Neuchâtel, Switzerland
August 9, 1837
February 6, 1841
Neuchâtel, Switzerland
December 14, 1873
Age 66
Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States
Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA