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German Scientists in South America

The German scientist Hermann Burmeister (1807-1892) became a Leopoldina member in 1833 and Johann Friedrich Theodor Müller (1822-1897) was admitted in 1884. They both played a vital role in the establishment and institutionalization of scientific research in South America. In particular, they were jointly responsible for developing a specifically South American variation of the Darwinism that had been expounded in Germany by Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919), a Leopoldina member since 1863.

That this transfer of academic knowledge was not a one-way street is confirmed by the physical evidence in the collections: Archives and collections in Germany and Europe, especially the archives at the Leopoldina and the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, profited greatly from the collecting and classification work of these two natural scientists. The project investigates the work of both these men in three particular areas:

  • Science from a biographical-historical perspective, including an emphasis on the close link between the history of science and political history.
  • Theory of collecting.
  • Epistemological in terms of the reciprocal transfer of knowledge between South America and Europe.


  • Sandra Miehlbrandt

South America

Project Supervisors:
Dr. Danny Weber
Prof. Dr. Rainer Godel

Visiting Scholar:
Sandra Miehlbradt

Related Projects

Hermann Burmeister und die „wissenschaftliche Urbanisierung“ Argentiniens (Sandra Miehlbradt; German)



Ronja Steffensky

Scientific Officer, Focus on Coordination of Science Studies

Phone 0345 - 47 239 - 118
Fax 0345 - 47 239 - 139
E-Mail ronja.steffensky (at)leopoldina.org