Wisconsin's First Scientist July 24

He’s been called Wisconsin’s first scientist. Increase Lapham was an early chronicler of plants, rocks, rivers, mounds and all things Wisconsin.

At 6 p.m. Thursday, July 24, authors Martha Bergland and Paul Hayes will present a program on the remarkable life and achievements of Lapham (1811-1875). The program is free; no registration required.

Self-taught, Lapham mastered botany, geology, archaeology, limnology, mineralogy, engineering, meteorology and cartography. A prolific writer, his 1844 guide to the territory was the first book published in Wisconsin. Asked late in life which field of science was his specialty, he replied simply, “I am studying Wisconsin.”

Bergland and Hayes are authors of the recently published biography, Studying Wisconsin: The Life of Increase Lapham, copies of which will be available for sale and signing at the end of the program. Bergland is the author of two novels, A Farm Under a Lake and Idle Curiosity, and is a Pushcart Prize recipient. She lives in Glendale, Wis. Hayes is a retired Milwaukee Journal science reporter and lives in Cedarburg.

 

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