Agassiz, Jean-Louis Rodolphe Swiss-American biologist and geologist (1807-73) whose early work on fossil (Agassiz 1833-44) and recent fishes (Spix and Agassiz 1829-31; Agassiz 1846) and on the slow work of glaciers won him enough fame for a ticket to America in 1846, where, after ingratiating himself with the most illiberal part of the local elite (see annotation to Morton 1854), he founded Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology (Winsor 1991; Tort 1996, pp. 33-7). From this new base, he undertook various expeditions, notably to collect Amazon fishes (Agassiz and Agassiz 1868), and to describe coral reefs in Florida (Agassiz 1883).
Agassiz corresponded extensively with CD, and the fishy part of this correspondence, e.g. on *cavefishes, is documented in this book. However, Agassiz remained to his dying day a prisoner of religious prejudices. Grove and Lavenberg (1997, p. 8) write with reference to an expedition that Agassiz led to the *Galapagos, in 1878, that "curiously the finding of new, different species did not change Louis Agassiz' vigorous opposition to the Darwinian theory of *evolution". Indeed, Agassiz' research programme was geared toward detecting the working of God's mind in the *taxonomy and *classification of living and extinct organisms (Winsor 1991). Agassiz was the last prominent biologist to hold on to such a dream, now the nightmare of biology teachers in less enlightened parts ofthe world. (See also Creationism.)
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