How Alexander von Humboldt's life story can inspire innovative soil research in developing countries

Johan Bouma
2017 SOIL Discussions  
The pioneering vision of Alexander von Humboldt on science and society of the early 1800's is still highly relevant today. His open mind and urge to make many measurements characterizing the: <q>interconnected web of life</q> are crucial ingredients as we now face the worldwide challenge of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Case studies in the Phillippines, Vietnam, Kenya, Niger and Costa Rica demonstrate, in Alexander's spirit, interaction with stakeholders and attention for unique local
more » ... for unique local conditions applying modern measurement and modeling methods, allowing inter- and transdisciplinary research approaches. But relations between science and society are increasingly problematic, partly as a result of the information revolution and <q>post-truth</q>, <q>fact-free</q> thinking. Overly regulated and financially restricted scientific communities in so-called developed countries may stifle intellectual creativity. Researchers in developing countries are urged to <q>leapfrog</q> beyond these problems in the spirit of Alexander von Humboldt as they further develop their scientific communities. Six suggestions to the science community are made with particular attention for soil science.
doi:10.5194/soil-2017-15 fatcat:nepcmvh375gkdpinkckjrpwqmq