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Updated:  Aug 12, 2013
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Wilhelm Heinrich Waagen

Geologist and palaeontologist, b. at Munich, June 23, 1841; d. at Vienna, March 24, 1900

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* Published by Encyclopedia Press, 1913.


Waagen, WILHELM HEINRICH, geologist and palaeontologist, b. at Munich, June 23, 1841; d. at Vienna, March 24, 1900. He completed a brilliant course at the University of Munich with the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and the publication of an elaborate work on geology, which was crowned by the university. In 1866 he became an instructor in palaeontology at the University of Munich, and at the same time taught Princess Theresa and Prince Arnulf of Bavaria. Although an excellent teacher, and especially competent in practical work, Waagen, who was a most loyal Catholic, had little prospect of obtaining a professorship at the University of Munich. Consequently, in 1870, he accepted the offer of a position as assistant in the geological survey of India. The severity, however, of the Indian climate obliged him to return permanently to Europe in 1875. In 1877 he became instructor at the University of Vienna, and lectured with great success on the geology of India. In 1879 Waagen went to the German Polytechnic of Prague as professor of geology and mineralogy; in 1890 he was professor of palaeontology at the University of Vienna; in 1886 he had declined a call to the school of mines at Berlin. He was named councillor of the board of mines (Oberbergart), and in 1893 was made a corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences. Waagen's writings before his trip to India treat especially the German Jura and its fossils. He did work of permanent value in the geological investigation of India (the Salt Range) by the scientific presentation of rich palaeontological material. In 1869, after an exhaustive study of ammonites, Waagen advocated the theory of evolution or mutation for certain series of fossils. As a young man he had taken an active part in the. Catholic life of Munich, and two years before his death he wrote a treatise on the first chapter of Genesis which shows both the learned geologist and the devout Christian.

Waagen was one of the editors of the periodical "Geognostisch-palaontologische Beitrage" (Munich), and during the years 1894-1900 editor of the "Beitrage zur Palaontologie Oesterreich-Ungarns and des Orients" (Vienna); after the death of Barrande (1883) he edited several volumes of Barrande's work "Systeme silurien". Waagen's most important works were: "Der Jura in Franken, Schwaben and der Schweiz" (Munich, 1864); "Klassification der Schichten des obern Jura" (Munich, 1865); "Die Formenreihe des Ammonites subradiatus" (Munich, 1869); "Ueber die geologische Verteilung der Organismen in Indien" (Vienna, 1878); "Das Schopfungsproblem" in "Natur and Offenbarung" (Munster, 1898; as a separate publication, 1899); "Gliederung der pelagischen Sedimente des Triassystems" (Vienna, 1895). He wrote in English: "Jurassic Fauna of Kutch" (1873-6); "Productus Limestone" (1879-91); "Fossils from the Ceratite Formation" (1892).

JOSEPH H. ROMPEL


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