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Louis Agassiz, who during the third quarter of the 19th century became something of the prototypical American naturalist, was in fact born in Switzerland. Agassiz undertook his early scientific work in Europe, having studied at the University of Munich and then gone on to take a chair in natural history in Neuchatel in Switzerland. While at Neuchatel he published the work that secured his reputation, a landmark multi-volume description and classification of fossil fish.
In 1846 Agassiz came to the United States to lecture before Boston's Lowell Institute; offered a professorship of zoology and geology at Harvard in 1848, he decided to stay in America, becoming a citizen in 1861. Two years later, Agassiz took part in the founding of the NAS and served as its first Foreign Secretary (1863-1873).