La montagne, laboratoire des savants

What attracts a scientist to the special world of the mountains? Why attempt to climb the highest peaks when you are a scientist? What measurements and experiments can be done there?

Cédric Marendaz

The exhibition explores the link, woven since the 18th century, particularly since Geneva, between the mountain and the human being, to better apprehend and understand the mechanisms that govern our world.

This taming of a hostile and dangerous world was based on observations and accounts of pioneers as early as the 17th century, but it was the Age of Enlightenment that opened the doors to the exploration of "glaciers" and high altitudes, and more particularly of the highest European summit, Mont Blanc.

The world of mountains became fashionable. Everyone was interested in collecting rocks, crystals and other curiosities, even trying to follow in the footsteps of the scholar Horace Bénédict de Saussure, sometimes forgetting his scientific purpose to focus on the sporting feat.

The measurements taken have become classics of science and have contributed to the development of explanatory models for various phenomena, from the study of mountain folding to the understanding of the physics of the atmosphere. This adventure of more than two centuries still continues today, the alpine ecosystem remaining a precious laboratory for understanding climate change.

Bilingual exhibition in French and English.

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About the venue

Rue de Lausanne 128, 1202 Genève