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Earth sciences: geography. Which of the scientists first introduced the term "geography"?

There are many sciences whose object of study is the Earth and its nature. In this article we will discuss one of them. What is geography and what does it study? Who introduced the term to science?

Earth sciences

There is a whole complex of sciences, the object of study in which one is the Earth and its nature. They are also called natural sciences. This is physics (the term from Ancient Greek and translated as "nature"), biology, ecology, chemistry and, of course, geography. Next, we will examine in more detail the goals and objectives of this scientific discipline, and also find out which of the scientists first introduced the term "geography."

It is curious that in ancient times, in the era of the birth of science as such, all knowledge about the Earth was combined into one discipline. However, later, as the accumulation of new knowledge, Earth sciences began to differentiate. So there was physics, geography, geology, biology, and then dozens of new disciplines.

Nevertheless, all these sciences are united by one object of investigation. But their goals and tasks are different. Physics studies all natural processes and phenomena, biology describes the diversity of the animal and plant world of our planet, but geography is a universal science that studies the regularities of the functioning of the geographic envelope of the Earth.

Which of the scientists first introduced the term "geography"?

The term "geography" consists of two words: "geo" - the earth and "grapho" - I write, I describe. That is, literally it can be translated as "land description". Who first used the term "geography" in the history of world science?

He was an outstanding ancient Greek philosopher and thinker Eratosthenes from the city of Cyrene. He lived and worked in Ancient Greece in the third century BC. Eratosthenes' scientific interests were so diverse that today he would be called a geographer, a mathematician, an astronomer, and a philologist.

Eratosthenes Kirensky can be called one of the first geographers in history. In addition to this, other ancient Greek scientists - Strabo, Herodotus, Ptolemy - were engaged in this science. The latter, by the way, wrote a voluminous work under the laconic title: "Geography."

Contribution of Eratosthenes to Geographical Science

Merit Eratosthenes is also in the fact that he was the first to try to measure the size of the globe (namely, the length of its circumference). Of course, he already then believed that our Earth has the form of a ball. As a result of the measurements, he got a fairly accurate number - 39 590 kilometers (the true length of the earth's equator is about 40,000 km)!

How did Eratosthenes manage to calculate the dimensions of the Earth so accurately? After all, he did not have precise instruments and devices, and, of course, he could not go up into space either. The main tool of the scientist was ... The sun! For his measurements he took two cities: Alexandria and Siena. When the Sun was at the zenith above Siena, he calculated that in Alexandria, the heavenly body "lags" by 1/50 of a full circle. Knowing the exact distance between the two cities, Eratosthenes multiplied it 50 times and got the length of the earth's circle!

Now you know which of the scientists first introduced the term "geography". What does this science study at the present stage?

What does geography study?

To date, the main subject of the study of geography can be formulated as follows: analysis of spatial features of the organization of the Earth's geographic envelope . The latter, as is known, consists of four geospheres: litho-, atmo-, hydro- and biosphere. Accordingly, the entire science of geography is divided into many narrow disciplines, each of which has its own goals and objectives.

In the structure of modern geographical science there are two major sections:

  1. Physiography.
  2. Socio-economic geography.

Among the main and most pressing problems that concern modern geographers, we can distinguish the following:

  • The answer to the question "what does geography study";
  • The rationale for the feasibility of such a science;
  • The definition of the main tasks of the geography of the XXI century;
  • The definition of the essence of the concepts "geographical envelope", "geographical space", "landscape", "natural complex", "geosystem" and others;
  • Development of theory and methodology of theoretical geography (or metageography);
  • Compilation of a unified and structurally logical system of geographic sciences;
  • Search for ways to improve methods of geographical research , etc.


Now you know which of the scientists first introduced the term "geography" in science. It was the ancient Greek thinker Eratosthenes from Cyrene, who lived in the III century BC. But in the history of world science he distinguished himself not only by this achievement. In particular, Eratosthenes quite accurately measured the size of our planet, without having any modern instruments.

The term "geography" is translated from Greek as "land description". However, the goals and tasks of modern science are more fundamental and multifaceted than just the usual description of the earth's surface.

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