Saturday, January 18, 2014

Scientist of the Day - Maria Sibylla Merian

Scientist of the Day
Maria Sibylla Merian

German/Swiss botanist and entomologist Maria Sibylla Merian was a classically-trained artist whose devotion to the study of plants and insects contributed tremendously to the increase of scientific knowledge.  Merian's close study and reporting of the metamorphosis of butterflies makes her one of the most important contributors to entomolgy.

Merian's skills as a botanist and artist helped the city of Amsterdam decide to send her and her daughter (after Maria had divorced her husband) to Suriname in South America to study the plants and insects of the new continent.  Her return after only 2 years (caused by malaria) resulted in her most important book on the insects of Suriname.

Her work was important and accurate enough to be re-validated and re-printed in the late 20th century.

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