Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The First Marine Biologist

So who looks more like the first Marine Biologist?

Edward Forbes (1815-1854), a Brit (on the right), is widely considered to have been the first marine biologist. However from what I have just read, it looks like we should be reconsidering that assessment.
Koreans, like people of most nations, love being able to claim that one of their compatriots was the first to do something, anything. For instance they our quite proud of the the fact that a Korean was the first to invent a device that measured rainfall. So they should be quite proud to be able to call another one of their countrymen the first marine biologist. One Chang Yak-Chon (not the guy on the left actually, but you get the idea) traveled to Heuksan Island (where I currently live incidentally) in 1815 in order to study the marine life there and wrote a "Record of Heuksan" which detailed the characteristics of 155 different marine species. I haven't been able to find a copy of it but in all likelihood it was written in Chinese so I wouldn't be able to translate it. Anyone have ideas where I might find a Hangul version if it exists?



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