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About Hesperian student / (Lincoln [Neb.]) 1872-1885 | View Entire Issue (June 1, 1878)
Piiofhsmik Louis Aoabsi..
PROFESSOR LOUIS AGASSTZ.
Intellect, morality, affection, power anil
religion have each been considered
worthy of the highest praise. We now pre
sent before you a man possessing them
all. Prof. Louis Agassiz was born in
Switzerland, May 28, 1807, and died Dec.,
14, 1873. Eleven years of his life were
spent under the instruction of his moth
er, 12 years of hard study at differ
ent colleges before beginning his life
work, 16 years were devoted to scien
tific work in Europe and 27 in the United
Intellectually he was indeed great, and
his influence is felt throughout the scien
tific world. Some men exert an influence
13T virtue of wealth and position; others
wield a conferred power. But Agassiz
was great by virtue of a power within
himself. He was not a man of one idea,
learned simply in one branch of science,
but a man of broad culture. At the age
of 23 he took the degree of Docter of
Philosophy and Docter of Medicine with
high honor. Previous to this his great
ability as a scientist had been recognized
and he had been intrusted with the ich
thyological department of a large scien
tific work on Brazil
Although Agassiz enters the scientific
field when the fame of Cuvier and La
Mm que is at its zenith, yet tins bib fiiat
work places him in the foremost rank.
He was great in natural ability, yet, pcr
hnps the secret of his success was his
powerof concentration and a genius for
Whatever he undertook he did with his
whole soul. Whatever was worth doing
at Jill was worth doing well. So thor
ouglily had he studied fishes that a sing
le scale presented to him their entire
Before commencing his work on "Fos
sil Fishes," he spent seven years in study,
and afterward ten yeats in its publication.
Yet what a master work it prooved to be
a worthy monument to faithful and un.
tiring research. It contained a discrip
of 1700 different spicies, many of them of
his own discovering and caused an entire
revolution in that branch of science.
The results of his scientific labor differ
much from that which is presented to us
under the name of science for the sake of
establishing some favorite theory.
Agassiz's discoveries come to us as the
honest conviction of the soul whose high
est ambition was to ascertain what is
truth. His power to deduce general laws
and to classify was indeed wonderful.
Animals and fishes came to his hand
seemingly an endless variety, and so far
as human wisdom had been able to trace
without law and order, they left it class
ified, each in its proper place.
Morally Prof. Agassiz is worthy of the
highest praise. In an age when wealth
and honor arc the controlling powers
and when integrity and fidelity to pur
pose are considered a hiuderaucc in pub
lie life, ii is with pleasure that we review
the career of a man upon whom the al
lurcmculs of wealth and position had no
Hi great mission in life was to read to
the world a few truths from the great
book of nature, and he prized money only
as a means of ascertaining those truths,
and valued name and title only as a con
victing forec in their dissemination.
His entire life wjis uch that ii won the
implicit confidence of individuals and of
nations. So great was their faith in his
inlegrity and ability, that he was permit
ted to take specimens from more than
eighty public and private museums.
That subscription list of 2500 names for
Agassiz's great work on " Natural Histo
ry," an expensive and purely scientific
work, and only a small part of it in the
press, was un exhibition of confidence
never before placed in the workj of a sci
entiiic man. Peihaps that which most
impressed the mass of the people was his
generosity and entire forgot fullnc3 of self.
He was ulways poor in that which the
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