Science star’s life described


Increase Allen Lapham examining the sixth fragment of a 33 lb. meteorite found in Trenton, Washington County, Wisconsin in 1871 Increase Allen Lapham examining the sixth fragment of a 33 lb. meteorite found in Trenton, Washington County, Wisconsin in 1871 Second Saturdays-Journeys into Local History sponsored by the Sheboygan County Historical Research Center continues its season on January 10, 2015 with The Life of Increase Lapham, Wisconsin’s First Science Superstar. Lapham was an early chronicler of plants, rocks, rivers, mounds and all things Wisconsin.

In this long overdue tribute to Wisconsin’s first scientist, authors Martha Bergland and Paul G. Hayes explore the remarkable life and achievements of Increase Lapham (1811-1875). Lapham’s ability to observe, understand, and meticulously catalog the natural world marked all of his work, from his days as a teenage surveyor on the Erie Canal to his last great contribution as state geologist. Selftaught, Lapham mastered botany, geology, archaeology, limnology, mineralogy, engineering, meteorology, and cartography. A prolific writer, his 1844 guide to the territory was the first book published in Wisconsin. Asked late in life which field of science was his specialty, he replied simply, “I am studying Wisconsin.”

Lapham identified and preserved thousands of botanical specimens. He surveyed and mapped Wisconsin’s effigy mounds. He was a force behind the creation of the National Weather Service, lobbying for a storm warning sys- tem to protect Great Lakes sailors. Told in compelling detail through Lapham’s letters, journals, books, and articles, Studying Wisconsin chronicles the life and times of Wisconsin’s pioneer citizen-scientist.

The event will take place at the Plymouth Arts Center, 520 East Mill Street, Plymouth, from 9:30am to 11:30am. Open to the public, this free presentation is appropriate for adults and students ten and older. No reservations are needed.


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