Von Humboldt, Science and Adventure

Von Humboldt, Science and Adventure

The ingredients that will amaze you are all there. Unusual selfie. She is characterized by a strong environmental sensibility ahead of her time and a tendency to combine scientific interests with a quiet love of travel, daring exploration and reckless adventure. Alexander von Humboldt, the son of the German eighteenth century, seems to have been invented by a uniquely inspired author who wanted to make him the ideal protagonist of a novel capable of speaking to our times. In particular, for our young people who show a lot of interest in environmental issues. But Baron Alexander is not a fictional character. He is not Jules Verne’s hero. far from it. He really lived. His presence at that time was an original phenomenon that aroused the admiration and interest of his contemporaries and others. In fact, von Humboldt charmed Goethe and, because of the great popularity that surrounded him, aroused Napoleon’s jealousy. But he also inspired scholars of later generations. Charles Darwin declared that it was the adventurer baron’s memoirs that led him to board the legendary Beagle at the age of twenty-two. Today, with the hope that the new environmental consciousness will take root and spread more and more, Alexander von Humboldt experiences a new wave of glory and returns to being an essential reference. It is clear, then, that he was chosen to be the champion of the message addressed to young people. Written by Volker Meinert, beautifully illustrated by Claudia Lieb, Donzelli arrived in Italy thanks to a translation by Isabella Amico de Maine.

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The precious volume is titled “Discovery of the Invisible.” Its 106 pages allow you to take a closer look at von Humboldt’s extraordinary life. An enticing journey that begins when he is still a lively boy full of questions. Then he went around collecting pieces of wood, small stones, and insects and putting them in his pockets. They were the first steps in creating a very special and visionary surveillance capability that would take him far. In fact, it was von Humboldt himself who understood that everything in nature lives in connection with the rest and that every human action corresponds to impacts on the ecosystem and climate that must be evaluated. The phrase “web of life” that he used in this connection sounds particularly happy today more than ever. It’s about the intersection of relationships. Of causes and consequences. How and Why.

Von Humboldt made many scientific discoveries and achievements. To tell his extraordinary story as a scientist and his travels, which ranged from the rainforests of South America to the Siberian steppes, a suitable pen was certainly needed. Volker Meinert turned out to be perfect. In some ways, it could be said that he is a kindred spirit for the talented Baron. Like him, Meinert also traveled widely. Much has been written about travel in articles and books. His words find their counterpart and completion in Lip’s images. The painter trained in communications design in Münster and at the Institute of Applied Sciences in Hamburg. To understand how skillfully she captures the spirit of von Humboldt, just look at the book’s cover. It gives an image of a young man with a distinctive and nice appearance. Shaggy enough to express his dynamic nature. In his eyes, apart from friendly affection and a certain tinge of sarcasm, shines the brilliant intelligence who guided him. His refined clothing contrasts only in appearance with the other graphic elements. We see bright leaves of exotic forests, spikes of red flowers, a darting hummingbird, two dazzling butterflies, and a bewildered monkey. Different worlds come together in the light of knowledge.

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