Alfred Wegener's Biography

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Alfred Wegener's Biography Alfred Lothar Wegener was born on November 1, 1880. He was interested in geophysics, and also became fascinated with the fields of meteorology and climatology. During his life, Wegener made several key contributions to meteorology; he pioneered the use of balloons to track air circulation, and wrote a textbook that became standard throughout Germany. In 1906 he joined an expedition to Greenland to study polar air circulation. Returning, he accepted a post as tutor at a German university. In 1914 he was drafted into the German army, but was released after being wounded, and served out the war forecasting the weather for the army. In 1924 he accepted a professorship in meteorology and geophysics at the University of Graz, in Austria. Wegener made what was to be his last expedition to Greenland in 1930. While at Marburg University, in the autumn of 1911, Wegener was browsing in the university library when he came across a scientific paper that listed fossils of identical plants and animals found on opposite sides of the Atlantic. Intrigued by this, Wegener found more cases of similar organisms separated by great oceans. Science at the time explained such cases with land bridges, now sunken, had once connected the continents. Wegener had also noticed the close fit between the coastlines of Africa and South America. He wondered weather the similarities among organisms might be due to the continents having been joined together at one time. Such a claim, if it were to be accepted, would require large amounts of evidence. Wegener found that large geological features on separated continents often matched very closely when the continents were brought together. For example, some mountains of eastern North America matched with the Scottish Highlands, and the distinctive rock strata of the Karroo system of South Africa were identical to those of the Santa Catarina system in Brazil. All of these facts supported Wegener's theory of "continental drift." In 1915 the first edition of The Origin of Continents and Oceans, a book outlining Wegener's theory, was

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