Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/274
262 THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
vigorous, active life. He was sent to the village school until he was thirteen years old. Here the pupil's talents were proudly observed and duly fostered by the teacher, his grandfather, who noticed es- pecially the wonderful memory of the youth.
This capability seems to have been the moving cause that prompted the parents to give Baeyer the advantages of a better course of in- struction. They sought to find this in the person of Gronau, the pas- tor in the neighboring town, Kopenick. Here he remained three years, going thence to the gymnasium in Joachimsthal, where he en- tered the fourth class.
Before completing the course here, the breaking out of the War of 1813 fired him with a thirst for military experience, which he obtained as a volunteer in the Third East Prussian Infantry, serving until the declaration of peace in 1814, He then returned to his gymnasium studies, to be again interrupted by the outbreak in 1815. The re- peated inclinations to be a soldier were gratified by again enlisting in the army, this time as an officer in the Fourth Rhine militia. This life had a charm for him ; so, at the close of the war, he attended the military school at Coblenz, and in 1821, through the intervention of General von Mufiling, who had become acquainted with Baeyer's predilection for geodetic work, he was detailed to the general staff.
It was at this time that Von Mtiffling was engaged upon the arc of longitude extending from Dunkirk, the extremity of the French arc of latitude, to Seeberg. In this work Baeyer assisted, especially in the computations, receiving in return his chief's ardent thanks in the preliminary report published in the " Astronomische Nachrichten," 1822, No. 27.
The year 1822 was perhaps a pivotal year to Baeyer. Just while comparing the life of a soldier with that of a scientist, at a time when be had obtained a place of honor in the military service, and had also been publicly thanked by a distinguished man for scientific work, he met Alexander von Humboldt and Bessel. The former was planning a second trip around the world for the purpose of collecting items of interest, and thought that he had found in this clever, energetic ofli- cer, now in his twenty-seventh year, the person to place in charge. The proposition was formally made, and so seriously considered that by way of preparation Baeyer attended the lectures of Weiss on mineralogy and geognosy during the two following years. For cer- tain reasons the plan fell short of consummation, but Humboldt's friendship and example were always great incentives to his youthful friend. Bessel also followed the career of Baeyer with interest, and saw in later years that his talents and skill were of such character as to bring them together as co-workers, assisting one another. He was promoted to first lieutenant in 1823, and in the following year he was one of a party that made a survey of the Suwarrow route over the Alps, during which he ascertained, by means of a barometer, the alti-