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Karl Friedrich Schimper

Karl Friedrich Schimper German naturalist

German naturalist
Karl Friedrich Schimper
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro German naturalist
A.K.A. K.F.Schimp.
Was Scientist Botanist Poet
From Germany
Type Literature Science
Gender male
Birth 15 February 1803, Mannheim, Karlsruhe Government Region, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Death 21 December 1867, Schwetzingen, Rhein-Neckar, Karlsruhe Government Region, Baden-Württemberg (aged 64 years)
The details


Karl Friedrich Schimper (15 February 1803 – 21 December 1867) was a German botanist, naturalist and poet. Born in Mannheim, he was a theology student at Heidelberg University and taught at Munich University. He pioneered research in the field of plant morphology, particularly phyllotaxis. He is perhaps best known as the originator of the theory of prehistoric hot and cold eras, and was one of the initiators of the modern theories of ice ages and climatic cycles. He was a brother of botanist Georg Wilhelm Schimper and cousin of botanist Wilhelm Philippe Schimper.

Bill Bryson states in his book A Short History of Nearly Everything that Karl Schimper originated the idea of glaciation and proposed the radical idea that ice sheets had once covered much of Europe, Asia, and North America. However, Schimper was known to be reluctant to write and never published his ideas. He discussed them with Louis Agassiz, who went on to appropriate the idea as his own and, much to Schimper's dismay, undeservedly received much of the credit for its origination.


  • Beschreibung des Symphytum Zeyheri und seiner zwei deutschen verwandten der S. bulbosum Schimper und S. tuberosum Jacq : mit 6 Steintaf. . Winter, Heidelberg 1835 Digital edition by the University and State Library Düsseldorf
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