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Augustin Pyramus de Candolle

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**Biography of Augustin Pyramus de Candolle**:
– Born on 4 February 1778 in Geneva, Republic of Geneva.
– Family descended from an ancient Provence family.
– Overcame hydrocephalus in childhood.
– Started scientific studies at Collège de Genève in 1794.
– Moved to Paris in 1798 to work in Charles Louis LHéritier de Brutelle’s herbarium.
– Established the genus Senebiera in 1799.
– Died on 9 September 1841 in Geneva.

**Botanical Career and Contributions**:
– Proposed a natural method of plant classification.
– Introduced a new classification system and the term ‘taxonomy.’
– Originated the idea of Nature’s war, influencing Charles Darwin.
– Recognized convergent evolution and observed plant leaf movements in constant light.
– Published extensively on plant families and created a new natural plant classification system.
– Descendants continued his work, contributing to the Prodromus Systematis Naturalis Regni Vegetabilis.

**Legacy and Recognition**:
– Remembered in plant genera Candollea and Candolleodendron.
– Several plant species named after him.
– Elected as a member of the American Philosophical Society.
– His descendants continued his botanical work.
– A book written in French in 2017 about his life and contributions.
– Candollea, a scientific journal, was named in honor of him and his descendants.

**Classification System and Contributions**:
– Proposed the concept of ‘Nature’s war’ in plant species competition.
– Distinguished between morphological and physiological characteristics of plant organs.
– Introduced the concept of homology to explain plant symmetry modifications.
– Discussed ideas on plant classification with Charles Darwin.
– Developed a natural classification system in botany.

**Chronobiology and Published Works**:
– Contributed to chronobiology by studying plant circadian rhythms.
– Observed circadian rhythms in plants like Mimosa pudica.
– Hypothesized the existence of an endogenous clock in plants.
– Authored numerous botanical works covering plant morphology and medical properties.
– Notable works include ‘Essai sur les propriétés médicales des plantes’ and ‘Prodromus systematis naturalis regni vegetabilis.’

Augustin Pyramus (or Pyrame) de Candolle (UK: /kænˈdɒl/, US: /kɒ̃ˈdɔːl/, French: [kɑ̃dɔl]; 4 February 1778 – 9 September 1841) was a Swiss botanist. René Louiche Desfontaines launched de Candolle's botanical career by recommending him at a herbarium. Within a couple of years de Candolle had established a new genus, and he went on to document hundreds of plant families and create a new natural plant classification system. Although de Candolle's main focus was botany, he also contributed to related fields such as phytogeography, agronomy, paleontology, medical botany, and economic botany.

Augustin Pyramus de Candolle
Portrait by Joseph Hornung, 1839
Born(1778-02-04)4 February 1778
Died9 September 1841(1841-09-09) (aged 63)
Geneva, Switzerland
Other namesAugustin Pyrame de Candolle
EducationCollège de Genève
Known forSystem of Taxonomy, Principle of "Nature's War"
RelativesAlphonse Pyramus de Candolle (son); Casimir de Candolle (grandson); Richard Émile Augustin de Candolle (great-grandson)
AwardsRoyal Medal (1833); associate member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences
Scientific career
FieldsBotany, agronomy, phytogeography, chronobiology
InstitutionsUniversity of Montpellier, Collège de Genève
PatronsGeorges Cuvier
Author abbrev. (botany)DC.

De Candolle originated the idea of "Nature's war", which influenced Charles Darwin and the principle of natural selection. de Candolle recognized that multiple species may develop similar characteristics that did not appear in a common evolutionary ancestor; a phenomenon now known as convergent evolution. During his work with plants, de Candolle noticed that plant leaf movements follow a near-24-hour cycle in constant light, suggesting that an internal biological clock exists. Though many scientists doubted de Candolle's findings, experiments over a century later demonstrated that "the internal biological clock" indeed exists.

De Candolle's descendants continued his work on plant classification; son Alphonse and grandson Casimir de Candolle contributed to the Prodromus Systematis Naturalis Regni Vegetabilis, a catalog of plants begun by Augustin Pyramus de Candolle.

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