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Micropalaeontology in Basel (Switzerland) during the twentieth century: the rise and fall of one of the smaller fields of the life sciences

Lukas Hottinger
Lukas Hottinger
Museum of Natural History, CH 4001 Basel, Switzerland
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January 01, 2013


This chapter provides an example of the rise and fall of a scientific discipline represented by a so-called school where teachers are followed by their own pupils within the same institution. The Basel school of Micropalaeontology developed from within the Geological-Palaeontological Institute (GPI) of Basel University from two identifiable roots: a Dutch root based upon exploration activities in Borneo and the Indonesian Dutch Colonies up to WWII; and an American root based upon oil exploration in the Caribbean and Venezuela. The academic environment at Basel is considered from the first half of the twentieth century onwards. The chapter discusses the contributions made by personalities such as Manfred Reichel, Lukas Hottinger, C. Renz, Otto Renz, Hans Bolli, Hans Schaub and Willi Mohler and how these affected the focus of research at Basel. It concludes with a more personal reflection of species concepts, functional morphology and the ecology of larger foraminifera, the dimension of time in the ecology of foraminifera, collaborative activities and a viewpoint upon the demise of research schools.

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Figures & Tables


The Micropalaeontological Society, Special Publications

Landmarks in Foraminiferal Micropalaeontology: History and Development

A. J. Bowden
A. J. Bowden
National Museums Liverpool, UK
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F. J. Gregory
F. J. Gregory
PetroStrat Ltd, UK
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A. S. Henderson
A. S. Henderson
Robertson (UK) Ltd, UK
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Geological Society of London
ISBN electronic:
Publication date:
January 01, 2013




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