Lorenz Oken

Lorenz Okenfuss

1779 (Offenburg, Germany) – 1851 (Zürich)

Oken’s Naturphilosophie is very much of its time. Agassiz, Schimper and Braun, student friends, went together to study in Munich under the congenial Oken, spending pleasant weekly discussion evenings at his house. Nägeli and Büchner were also students of his — Oken supervised Büchner’s thesis. Both Schelling and Döllinger had taught him, before eventually becoming his colleagues in Munich. Schelling also lent him money and advised him on how to approach the formidable Goethe, who had supported his Jena appointment but then been piqued at his claims for osteological primacy (decades later, Oken was still grumbling to his friend Owen about Goethe’s audacity).

Lorenz Oken knew…