Professor in Zurich (1672 - 1733)
Johann Jacob Scheuchzer was the son of a doctor who studied studying medicine
and mathematics, and became junior town physician in Zurich in 1696.
By collecting a large amount of data on Switzerland
and its mountains, Scheuchzer established the basis of Swiss physical geography
(although one curious chapter in his book Itinera
per Helvetiae Alpinas regiones also contains accounts by people of good
faith who had seen dragons in the Alps). In
1710 he became professor of mathematics at the Gymnasium in Zürich. By the time
he died in 1733 he was one of the most prominent scientists of his time.
Scheuchzer was a fervent collector of fossils. He published various works on this subject, each incorporating excellent drawings. His observations have proved very important, although his interpretations should be interpreted in the spirit of his time. Although he initially saw fossils as a freak of nature, he later regarded them as remains of the biblical flood. On the basis of the stage of growth of some fossilised plants, he tried to determine in which month the flood had taken place. Teylers Museum library has nine books by Scheuchzer, amongst which the Geestelyke Natuurkunde (1735-1738) in fifteen parts.