Arnold Heim

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Arnold Heim with orangutan baby in his arms (ca.1928)
Greenland expedition of 1909. Passengers on the ship, Hans Egede
Greenland expedition of 1909. Passengers on the steamship Hans Egede

Arnold Heim (born March 20, 1882 in Zurich ; † May 27, 1965 ibid) was a Swiss geologist .


Arnold Heim, how he traveled as an Arab

Heim was born as the son of geologist Albert Heim and Marie Heim-Vögtlin , the first practicing doctor in Switzerland. By studying geology at the Swiss Federal Polytechnic in Zurich (today: ETH Zurich ), Arnold Heim followed in the footsteps of his father, who held the chair of geology at the university in question. Arnold obtained his diploma as a subject teacher in the natural sciences and then did his doctorate at the University of Zurich . 1908–1911 and 1924–1928 he was a private lecturer at the university and at the Polytechnic in Zurich. Father Albert hoped that Arnold would succeed him. 1929–1931, however, Arnold took over a professorship at the Sun Yat Sen University of Canton (China) and, to the annoyance of his father, renounced an actual academic career.

In 1909 Arnold Heim took part in the Swiss Greenland Expedition Alfred de Quervain . Between 1910 and 1920 Heim looked for oil in Java and Sumatra. He made pioneering investigations into the connections between sedimentation and tectonics and achieved world renown with his research in petrogeology .

On December 7, 1926, he flew to South Africa with Walter Mittelholzer , the writer René Gouzy and the mechanic Hans Hartmann.

In 1930 Heim was on an expedition with Eduard Imhof and Paul Nabholz to measure the mountain Minya Konka . Not 10,000 meters high, as rumors said, but only 7600 meters above sea level, was the result. This means that Mount Everest was still the highest mountain in the world.

In 1932 he was elected a member of the Leopoldina .

In 1936 he carried out the first Swiss Himalayan expedition with Augusto Gansser , which lasted eight months. During the expedition, Heim and Gansser kept detailed diaries that formed the basis for the travelogue “Throne of the Gods” (1938) and the research volume “Central Himalaya: Geological Observations of the Swiss Expedition 1936” (1939).

He found his final resting place in the Sihlfeld cemetery .

Publications (selection)

  • Throne of the Gods: Experiences of the first Swiss Himalayan expedition . (with Augusto Gansser) Morgarten-Verlag, Zurich 1938.
  • World view of a naturalist: my confession. 4th, improved edition. Huber, Bern 1948.
  • Wonderland Peru. Nature experiences. (= Experiences of nature in distant continents. Book 1). Huber, Bern 1948. (2nd edition. 1957)
  • South America. Nature experiences while traveling in Chile, Argentina and Bolivia. (= Experiences of nature in distant continents. Book 2). 2nd Edition. Huber, Bern / Stuttgart 1954. (Spanish edition Barcelona 1960)


Web links

Commons : Arnold Heim  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Müller, Verena E .: Marie Heim-Vögtlin - the first Swiss doctor (1845–1916): a life between tradition and new beginnings . Hier + Jetzt, publ. For culture and history, 2007, ISBN 978-3-03919-061-4 , p. 254-255 .
  2. ^ Arnold Heim: The Journey of the Swiss Greenlanders to the Great Karajak Ice Stream . In: Swiss illustrated magazine. Volume 14, 1910, pp. 39-41. ( ).
  3. ^ Arnold Heim: The Swiss Greenland Drivers and Dr. Cook . In: Switzerland - Swiss illustrated magazine . tape 13 , 1909, pp. CX – CXII ( ).
  4. ^ Verena E. Müller: Marie Heim-Vögtlin. The first Swiss female doctor (1845–1916). here + now-Verlag, Baden 2007, p. 254.
  5. Walter Mittelholzerstrasse, Arnold Heim, René Gouzy: Africa flight . Orell Füssli Verlag, Zurich 1927.
  6. ETH: “Pilgrims of Science”: The first Swiss Himalayan expedition from 1936