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Georges Louis Leclerc comte de Buffon

Montbard 1707 - Paris 1788


Georges Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, was an important French naturalist. Buffon was born in Montbard on September 7, 1707. As the oldest son, his father steered him towards a career in law. In 1726, Buffon took his law degree. Probably inspired by his "Grand Tour", Buffon decided to study nature. From then on, he devoted himself to medical, botanical and mathematical studies.
In Paris, Buffon lived as a private tutor. He continued his nature studies. Already in 1733, Buffon was accepted into the Royal Academy of Sciences. In 1739, Louis XV appointed him superintendent of the Royal Botanical Garden.
Buffon achieved extraordinary importance in the academic world through his magnum opus, "Natural History: General and Particular", a match for Diderot’s "Encyclopédie" in terms of breadth and effect. Buffon’s "Natural History" appeared from 1749 to the end of his life in 1788 in 36 volumes. In it, Buffon developed the theory of an evolutionary genesis of life forms. In contrast to the assumptions of theologists who dated the age of the earth at almost 6,000 years, based on the Bible, Buffon arrived at an estimate of over 70,000 years.
In 1773, Louis XV granted Buffon the noble title Comte de Buffon. His scientific work is considered among the great achievements of Enlightenment thought. Georges Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, died in Paris on April 16, 1788.


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