Louis Agassiz ca. 1861

Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz (1807 - 1873) was born in the village of Montier, in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. He attended universities in Switzerland and Germany and earned several degrees. In 1846 Agassiz traveled to the United States on a trip to investigate natural history and geology and to lecture on zoology. He accepted a position as a professor of zoology and geology at Harvard University in 1847. At Harvard, Agassiz founded the Museum of Comparative Zoology in 1859, served as its director, and became a renowned zoologist. He is considered one of the "founding fathers" of modern American scientific tradition. Agassiz was a very influential teacher and his innovative teaching methods profoundly influenced natural science education in the United States. He is also remembered for proposing the existence of Ice Ages in the world's history. Agassiz was one of the most well-respected critics of Darwin and biological evolution. He believed that very complex organs like the eye and ecologically dependent species like bees and flowers could not evolve according to the small and random steps of Darwin's theory. Agassiz also believed that "we are children of God, and not of monkeys." Agassiz was one of the last important and respected scientists to reject the theory of evolution. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, LC-DIG-ppmsca-08365