|Friedrich Albert Fallou & the Founding of Soil Science|
Sunday, September 6, 2015
A new book on F.A. Fallou provides details of his life and contributions to Soil Science
F.A. Fallou (1794-1877) has been considered by several authors as the Father of Soil Science. This was the subject of an article I posted earlier on this blog. Unfortunately, this distinction has been wrongly attributed to the Russian V.V. Dokuchaev. For this reason, the prominent Russian historian Jarilow wrote in 1904 that "Fallou is one of humanity's forgotten best sons".
The book provides clear and strong evidence that Fallou founded the scientific study of soil. It was authored by two retired prominent professors, Prof. Dr. Heiner Kaden (Chemistry, Technical University Freiberg) and Prof. Dr. Hans Joachim Fiedler (Soil Science, Technical University of Dresden). Prof. Fiedler has published numerous books and articles on soil science and has in fact written articles on Fallou. He is thus highly qualified to write about Fallou's works.
This is the first publication that presents a complete picture of Fallou: his origin, childhood, education, and professional activities particularly in the field of geology and of course his pioneering contribution to soil science. Some of the interesting revelations in the book include the following: a) Fallou finished his Bachelor of Law studies from the University of Leipzig, b) he contributed rock samples (e.g. serpentinite) to a museum of natural history, c) he won a scientific prize for a paper he authored, d) he was awarded a Knight's Cross First Class medal by Saxony in 1870 for his works in geology and soil science, and e) Fallou was an introvert who lived a solitary life.
This is a very important book and it deserves to be translated into English so it would be useful to students of soil science in different parts of the world.
I thank Prof. Dr. Kaden for sending me a copy of the book. It will be an important addition to my personal collection on soil science history.