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Matthias Jakob Schleiden

Matthias Jakob SchleidenBorn: 5-Apr-1804
Birthplace: Hamburg, Germany
Died: 23-Jun-1881
Location of death: Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Botanist

Nationality: Germany
Executive summary: Principles of Scientific Botany

German botanist, born at Hamburg on the 5th of April 1804. He studied law at Heidelberg and engaged in the legal profession in Hamburg until 1831. Not succeeding, he studied botany and medicine at Göttingen and Berlin, and in 1839 graduated at Jena. There he was appointed extraordinary professor of botany, becoming honorary professor in 1846 and ordinary professor in 1850. In 1863 he was called to Dorpat, but resigned the following year and returned to Germany, where he lived as a private teacher. He died at Frankfurt on the 23rd of June 1881. His influence is twofold. Uniting the labors of two centuries of workers in vegetable histology, he proved that a nucleated cell is the only original constituent of the plant embryo, and that the development of all vegetable tissues must be referred to such cells, thus preparing the way for the epoch-making cell theory of Theodor Schwann; and his Principles of Scientific Botany (1842-43), which went through several editions, did much to shake the tyranny of the purely systematic Linnean school, whose accumulations he was accustomed irreverently to describe as "hay." Despite an inability to criticize and verify his own hypotheses, he gave, both by his speculative activity and by the introduction of improved technical methods, so vivid an impulse to the younger botanists of his time as to have earned from Anton de Bary the title of reformer of scientific botany. His botanical labors practically ceased after 1850, when he entered upon various philosophical and historical studies.

    Law School: University of Heidelberg (1827)
    University: University of Jena (1839)
    Professor: Botany, University of Jena (1842-64)
    Professor: Botany, University of Dorpat (1862-64)

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