Albrecht von Haller was NaturalistDoc, PoetDoc, GardenDoc, BillDoc
Albrecht von Haller (16 October 1708 – 12 December 1777) was a Swiss anatomist, physiologist, naturalist and poet. A pupil of Herman Boerhaave, he is often referred to as “the father of modern physiology.”
Haller then visited London, making the acquaintance of Sir Hans Sloane, William Cheselden, John Pringle, James Douglas and other scientific men; next, after a short stay in Oxford, he visited Paris, where he studied under Henri François Le Dran and Jacob Winslow; and in 1728 he proceeded to Basel, where he devoted himself to the study of higher mathematics under John Bernoulli. It was during his stay there also that his interest in botany was awakened; and, in the course of a tour (July/August, 1728), through Savoy, Baden and several of the cantons of Switzerland, he began a collection of plants which was afterwards the basis of his great work on the flora of Switzerland.
From a literary point of view the main result of this, the first of his many journeys through the Alps, was his poem entitled Die Alpen, which was finished in March 1729, and appeared in the first edition (1732) of his Gedichte.
This poem of 490 hexameters is historically important as one of the earliest signs of the awakening appreciation of the mountains, though it is chiefly designed to contrast the simple and idyllic life of the inhabitants of the Alps with the corrupt and decadent existence of the dwellers in the plains.
The quantity of work achieved by Haller in the seventeen years during which he occupied his Göttingen professorship was immense. Apart from the ordinary work of his classes, which entailed the task of newly organizing a botanical garden (the Alter Botanischer Garten der Universität Göttingen), an anatomical theatre and museum, an obstetrical school, and similar institutions, he carried on without interruption those original investigations in botany and physiology, the results of which are preserved in the numerous works associated with his name; he continued also to persevere in his youthful habit of poetical composition, while at the same time he conducted a monthly journal (the Göttingische gelehrte Anzeigen), to which he is said to have contributed twelve thousand articles relating to almost every branch of human knowledge. He also warmly interested himself in most of the religious questions, both ephemeral and permanent, of his day; and the erection of the Reformed church in Göttingen was mainly due to his unwearied energy. Like his mentor Boerhaave, Haller was a Christian and a collection of his religious thoughts can be read in a compilation of letters to his daughter.