Conrad Gesner; born March 16, 1516, in Zurich; died December 13, 1565. Conrad Gesner studied classical languages and theology in Strasbourg and as of 1533 studied medicine in Bourges, Paris, and Montpellier. In 1537, he was appointed professor of Greek at the Academy in Lausanne. Conrad Gesner settled in Zurich in 1541, where he practiced medicine. In addition to his medical activities there, he became professor for physics, natural philsophy, and ethics in 1546.
He became assistant Stadtarzt in 1552. Two years later he became Stadtarzt and was appointed regular of the Grossmünster in 1558. Conrad Gesner received an imperial patent of nobility in 1564. In his myriad works, Gesner canbe recognized as one of the most versatile and productive scholars of Switzerland, who distinguished himself in many areas of science.
He is recognized for his achievements as a compiler, thorough encyclopedist, cultural and geographical universalist, recognized adept of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, theologian, orientalist, linguist, natural scientist, and physician.
He composed many ground breaking scientific texts. An example is his lexikon "Historia animalium," which contains over a thousand woodcuts, whose first four volumes with around 4,500 pages on mammals, amphibians and reptiles, birds and water animals appeared during his lifetime (1551-1558), while a fifth volume on snakes and a sixth on insects appeared posthumously in 1587 and 1634. Conrad Gesner is regarded as one of the most famous and important natural scientists and scholars of Switzerland.