1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Huber, François

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HUBER, FRANÇOIS (1750–1831), Swiss naturalist, was born at Geneva on the 2nd of July 1750. He belonged to a family which had already made its mark in the literary and scientific world: his great-aunt, Marie Huber (1695–1753), was known as a voluminous writer on religious and theological subjects, and as the translator and epitomizer of the Spectator (Amsterdam, 3 vols., 1753); and his father Jean Huber (1721–1786), who had served for many years as a soldier, was a prominent member of the coterie at Ferney, distinguishing himself by his Observations sur le vol des oiseaux (Geneva, 1784). François Huber was only fifteen years old when he began to suffer from an affection of the eyes which gradually resulted in total blindness; but, with the aid of his wife, Marie Aimée Lullin, and of his servant, François Burnens, he was able to carry out investigations that laid the foundations of our scientific knowledge of the life history of the honey-bee. His Nouvelles Observations sur les abeilles was published at Geneva in 1792 (Eng. trans., 1806). He assisted Jean Senebier in his Mém. sur l’influence de l’air, &c., dans la germination (Geneva, 1800); and he also wrote “Mém. sur l’origine de la cire” (Bibliothèque britannique, tome xxv.), a “Lettre à M. Pictet sur certains dangers que courent les abeilles” (Bib. brit. xxvii), and “Nouvelles Observ. rel. au sphinx Atropos” (Bib. brit. xxvii). He died at Lausanne on the 22nd of December 1831. De Candolle gave his name to a genus of Brazilian trees—Huberia laurina.

Pierre Huber (1777–1840) followed in his father’s footsteps. His best-known work is Recherches sur les mœurs des fourmis indigènes (Geneva and Paris, 1810; new ed., Geneva, 1861), and he also wrote various papers on entomological subjects.

See the account of François Huber, by De Candolle, in Bibl. universelle (1832); and the notice of Pierre in Bibl. univ. (1886); also Haag, La France protestante.