The Most Famous

BIOLOGISTS from Switzerland

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This page contains a list of the greatest Swiss Biologists. The pantheon dataset contains 844 Biologists, 26 of which were born in Switzerland. This makes Switzerland the birth place of the 6th most number of Biologists behind France and Sweden.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Swiss Biologists of all time. This list of famous Swiss Biologists is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Swiss Biologists.

Photo of Conrad Gessner

1. Conrad Gessner (1516 - 1565)

With an HPI of 76.12, Conrad Gessner is the most famous Swiss Biologist.  His biography has been translated into 49 different languages on wikipedia.

Conrad Gessner (; Latin: Conradus Gesnerus 26 March 1516 – 13 December 1565) was a Swiss physician, naturalist, bibliographer, and philologist. Born into a poor family in Zürich, Switzerland, his father and teachers quickly realised his talents and supported him through university, where he studied classical languages, theology and medicine. He became Zürich's City Physician, but was able to spend much of his time on collecting, research and writing. Gessner compiled monumental works on bibliography (Bibliotheca universalis 1545–1549) and zoology (Historia animalium 1551–1558) and was working on a major botanical text at the time of his death from plague at the age of 49. He is regarded as the father of modern scientific bibliography, zoology and botany. He was frequently the first to describe a species of plant or animal in Europe, such as the tulip in 1559. A number of plants and animals have been named after him.

Photo of Augustin Pyramus de Candolle

2. Augustin Pyramus de Candolle (1778 - 1841)

With an HPI of 71.06, Augustin Pyramus de Candolle is the 2nd most famous Swiss Biologist.  His biography has been translated into 40 different languages.

Augustin Pyramus (or Pyrame) de Candolle (UK: , US: , 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 an 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. 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.

Photo of Daniel Bovet

3. Daniel Bovet (1907 - 1992)

With an HPI of 71.06, Daniel Bovet is the 3rd most famous Swiss Biologist.  His biography has been translated into 46 different languages.

Daniel Bovet (23 March 1907 – 8 April 1992) was a Swiss-born Italian pharmacologist who won the 1957 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of drugs that block the actions of specific neurotransmitters. He is best known for his discovery in 1937 of antihistamines, which block the neurotransmitter histamine and are used in allergy medication. His other research included work on chemotherapy, sulfa drugs, the sympathetic nervous system, the pharmacology of curare, and other neuropharmacological interests. In 1965, Bovet led a study team which concluded that smoking of tobacco cigarettes increased users' intelligence. He told The New York Times that the object was not to "create geniuses, but only [to] put the less-endowed individual in a position to reach a satisfactory mental and intellectual development".Bovet was born in Fleurier, Switzerland. He was a native Esperanto speaker. He graduated from the University of Geneva in 1927 and received his doctorate in 1929. Beginning in 1929 until 1947 he worked at the Pasteur Institute in Paris. He then moved in 1947 to the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (Superior Institute of Health) in Rome. Two years later, in 1949, Bovet was awarded the Cameron Prize for Therapeutics of the University of Edinburgh. In 1964, he became a professor in at the University of Sassari in Italy. From 1969 to 1971, he was the head of the Psychobiology and Psychopharmacology Laboratory of the National Research Council, in Rome, before stepping down to become a professor at the University of Rome La Sapienza. He retired in 1982.

Photo of Werner Arber

4. Werner Arber (1929 - )

With an HPI of 70.72, Werner Arber is the 4th most famous Swiss Biologist.  His biography has been translated into 47 different languages.

Werner Arber (born 3 June 1929 in Gränichen, Aargau) is a Swiss microbiologist and geneticist. Along with American researchers Hamilton Smith and Daniel Nathans, Werner Arber shared the 1978 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of restriction endonucleases. Their work would lead to the development of recombinant DNA technology.

Photo of Charles Bonnet

5. Charles Bonnet (1720 - 1793)

With an HPI of 69.79, Charles Bonnet is the 5th most famous Swiss Biologist.  His biography has been translated into 23 different languages.

Charles Bonnet (French: [bɔnɛ]; 13 March 1720 – 20 May 1793) was a Genevan naturalist and philosophical writer. He is responsible for coining the term phyllotaxis to describe the arrangement of leaves on a plant. He was among the first to notice parthenogenetic reproduction in aphids and established that insects respired through their spiracles. He was among the first to use the term "evolution" in a biological context. Deaf from an early age, he also suffered from failing eyesight and had to make use of assistants in later life to help in his research.

Photo of Albert von Kölliker

6. Albert von Kölliker (1817 - 1905)

With an HPI of 68.09, Albert von Kölliker is the 6th most famous Swiss Biologist.  His biography has been translated into 23 different languages.

Albert von Kölliker (born Rudolf Albert Kölliker; 6 July 1817 – 2 November 1905) was a Swiss anatomist, physiologist, and histologist.

Photo of Gaspard Bauhin

7. Gaspard Bauhin (1560 - 1624)

With an HPI of 67.73, Gaspard Bauhin is the 7th most famous Swiss Biologist.  His biography has been translated into 26 different languages.

Gaspard Bauhin or Caspar Bauhin (Latin: Casparus Bauhinus; 17 January 1560 – 5 December 1624), was a Swiss botanist whose Pinax theatri botanici (1623) described thousands of plants and classified them in a manner that draws comparisons to the later binomial nomenclature of Linnaeus. He was a disciple of the famous Italian physician Girolamo Mercuriale and he also worked on human anatomical nomenclature. Linnaeus honored the Bauhin brothers Gaspard and Jean in the genus name Bauhinia. Binomial system of nomenclature was first proposed by him and later, it was explained by Linnaeus.

Photo of Carl Nägeli

8. Carl Nägeli (1817 - 1891)

With an HPI of 65.85, Carl Nägeli is the 8th most famous Swiss Biologist.  His biography has been translated into 22 different languages.

Carl Wilhelm von Nägeli (26 or 27 March 1817 – 10 May 1891) was a Swiss botanist. He studied cell division and pollination but became known as the man who discouraged Gregor Mendel from further work on genetics. He rejected natural selection as a mechanism of evolution, favouring orthogenesis driven by a supposed "inner perfecting principle".

Photo of Josias Braun-Blanquet

9. Josias Braun-Blanquet (1884 - 1980)

With an HPI of 64.87, Josias Braun-Blanquet is the 9th most famous Swiss Biologist.  His biography has been translated into 19 different languages.

Josias Braun-Blanquet (3 August 1884 – 20 September 1980) was an influential phytosociologist and botanist. Braun-Blanquet was born in Chur, Switzerland and died in Montpellier, France.

Photo of François-Alphonse Forel

10. François-Alphonse Forel (1841 - 1912)

With an HPI of 64.59, François-Alphonse Forel is the 10th most famous Swiss Biologist.  His biography has been translated into 20 different languages.

François-Alphonse Forel (February 2, 1841 – August 7, 1912) was a Swiss physician and scientist who pioneered the study of lakes, and is thus considered the founder, and the Father of limnology. Limnology is the study of bodies of fresh water and their biological, chemical, and physical features.

Pantheon has 26 people classified as biologists born between 1516 and 1929. Of these 26, 1 (3.85%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living biologists include Werner Arber. The most famous deceased biologists include Conrad Gessner, Augustin Pyramus de Candolle, and Daniel Bovet. As of October 2020, 8 new biologists have been added to Pantheon including Johann Jakob Scheuchzer, John Isaac Briquet, and Heinrich Zollinger.

Living Biologists

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Deceased Biologists

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Newly Added Biologists (2020)

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Which Biologists were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 20 most globally memorable Biologists since 1700.