Famous Swiss Botanists

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Conrad Gessner
(Swiss Physician, Naturalist and Philologist Known for His Systematic Compilations of Information on Animals and Plants)
Conrad Gessner
Birthdate: March 26, 1516
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Zürich, Switzerland
Died: December 13, 1565

Born to a poor fur dealer, Conrad Gessner was sent to study under an uncle who dealt in medicinal herbs. He then studied theology but later grew up to become a Renaissance polymath, excelling in subjects such as natural history and medicine. His Bibliotheca universalis remains a major work in bibliography.

Augustin Pyrame de Candolle
Birthdate: February 4, 1778
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Geneva, Switzerland
Died: September 9, 1841

Swiss botanist Augustin Pyrame de Candolle excelled in literature and poetry in school but later focused on botany. He is remembered for establishing scientific standards and classification for plant genera. Known for his Théorie élémentaire de la botanique, he later lent his name to several plant species and genera.

Albrecht von Haller
Birthdate: October 16, 1708
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bern
Died: December 12, 1777

Swiss biologist Albrecht von Haller, who is hailed as the father of experimental physiology, grew up as a sickly child and thus often avoided sports and mastered Greek, Hebrew, and the Bible instead. Associated with the University of Göttingen, he later penned Physiological Elements of the Human Body, which revolutionized medical science.

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Gaspard Bauhin
Gaspard Bauhin
Birthdate: January 17, 1560
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Basel, Switzerland
Died: December 5, 1624

Born to a French physician in Switzerland, Gaspard Bauhin was a qualified physician himself and later made some of the most significant contributions to the classification of plants. Known for his Pinax theatri botanica, he also provided one of the initial descriptions of the ileocecal (or Bauhin’s) valve.

Carl Nägeli
Carl Nägeli
Birthdate: March 27, 1817
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Kilchberg, Switzerland
Died: May 10, 1891

While he initially studied medicine, Carl Nägeli later became a major figure in botany. Associated with the universities of Zürich, Freiburg, and Munich, he made extraordinary contributions to the study of plant cells. He also introduced the concept of meristematic tissue, associated with cell division in plants.

Alphonse Pyrame de Candolle
Birthdate: October 28, 1806
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: April 4, 1893

Born to famous botanist Augustin Pyramus de Candolle, Alphonse Pyrame de Candolle had initially studied law but switched to botany later. Part of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, he made significant contributions to phytogeography. He also called the inaugural International Botanical Congress for standardizing botanical nomenclature.

Albert Frey-Wyssling
Birthdate: November 8, 1900
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kussnacht, Switzerland
Died: August 30, 1988

The son of a science teacher, Albert Frey-Wyssling initially geared up for a career in teaching too, but later grew up to become one of the greatest Swiss botanists ever. Apart from introducing submicroscopic morphology, he also developed what is now known as molecular biology. He later taught at ETH Zürich.

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