Saussure , Horace Bénédict de
(1740–1799) Swiss physicist and geologist
Saussure was the son of an agriculturist. He was educated at the university in his native city of Geneva, graduating in 1759, and became professor of physics and philosophy at the Geneva Academy (1762–86).
He was the first to make a systematic and prolonged study of the Alps, his work being published in his classic Voyages dans les Alpes (1779–96; Travels in the Alps). He began as a disciple of Abraham Werner, accepting that the mass of the Alps had crystallized from the primitive ocean. However, 17 years of studying the convolutions and folds of the Alps led him to state in 1796 that such folds could only be produced by some force acting from below, or that they must have actually been laid down folded. Both alternatives preclude deposition by water. He was unwilling to decide in favor of the plutonist theories of James Hutton and thus to introduce fire as an agent, for he could recognize no sign of it.
He also collected considerable meteorological data and developed, in 1783, an improved hygrometer to measure humidity, using a human hair. He made the second ascent of Mont Blanc (1787) and at the summit took many scientific recordings. He also made nocturnal recordings and, in 1788, stayed for 17 days on the 11,000-foot (3358 m) summit of Col du Géant.

Scientists. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Saussure, Horace Bénédict de — ▪ Swiss physicist born Feb. 17, 1740, Geneva, Switz. died Jan. 22, 1799, Geneva       Swiss physicist, geologist, and early Alpine explorer who developed an improved hygrometer to measure atmospheric humidity.       Saussure became professor of… …   Universalium

  • Saussure, Horace Bénédict de — ► (1740 99) Geólogo y físico suizo. La originalidad de sus clases pasaba por realizar una serie de cursos al aire libre, visitando con sus alumnos los lugares más interesantes desde el punto de vista de la historia natural. Perfeccionó e inventó… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • SAUSSURE, HORACE BENEDICT DE —    geologist and physicist, born in Geneva; was the first to ascend Mont Blanc in the interest of science, and was distinguished for his researches in the same interest all over the Alps and on other mountain ranges; he invented or improved… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Horace-Benedict de Saussure — Horace Bénédict de Saussure Pour les articles homonymes, voir Saussure. Horace Bénédict de Saussure (né le 17 février 1740 à Conches, près de Genève, et mort le 22 janvier 1799 à Conches). Naturaliste et géologue suisse, cet… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Horace-Bénédict De Saussure — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Saussure. Horace Bénédict de Saussure (né le 17 février 1740 à Conches, près de Genève, et mort le 22 janvier 1799 à Conches). Naturaliste et géologue suisse, cet aristocrate genevois est… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Horace-bénédict de saussure — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Saussure. Horace Bénédict de Saussure (né le 17 février 1740 à Conches, près de Genève, et mort le 22 janvier 1799 à Conches). Naturaliste et géologue suisse, cet aristocrate genevois est… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Horace Bénédict de Saussure — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Saussure. Horace Bénédict de Saussure (né le 17 février 1740 à Conches, près de Genève, et mort le 22 janvier 1799 à Conches). Naturaliste et géologue suisse, cet aristocrate genevois est… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Horace Bénédict de Saussure — Horace Bénédict de Saussure. Horace Benedict de Saussure Monument in Chamonix. Horace Bénédict de Saussure (* 17. Februar …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Horace-Bénédict de Saussure — Monumento en honor de Horace Bénédict de Saussure en compañía de su guía en Chamonix …   Wikipedia Español

  • Horace-Bénédict de Saussure — Horace Benedict de Saussure Monument in …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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