Miguel Ángel Puig-SamperAlexander von Humboldt, the Explorer of the Cosmos
The science historian Miguel Ángel Puig-Samper discusses the American trips undertaken by the Prussian explorer and naturalist Alexander von Humboldt. The brother of the writer and politician Wilhelm von Humboldt, he was born into an aristocratic family that provided him with a thorough education. From 1799 to 1804 he travelled to Spanish America with the botanist Aimé Bonpland, his trip leading to great advances in the different areas in which he worked – zoology, the mining industry, geology, botany, archaeology, essay writing... – and laid the foundations for modern geography. Upon his return to Europe, he published his studies in periods interspersed with his subsequent trips to Italy and Central Asia, and at the end of his life, his great work Cosmos, which Puig-Samper describes as “the great synthesis”.