German geologist, mineralogist, crystallographer
Born in Duisburg. In 1840, the family moved to Cologne, and Gerhrad, along with his older brother, sent their parents to a Bavarian village (near Dillingen-on-the-Danube) to a village priest who had taught the boys Greek, Latin and other school subjects for two years.
Upon his return, Rath studied at the gymnasium, where he perfectly mastered English, French and Italian, and in 1848 entered the natural science department of the University of Bonn. After the first semester, he yielded to the wishes of his parents, left this university and went to Geneva, attended lectures on astronomy and geology at a local university.
During this period, he climbed Mont Blanc and walked the Alps to Vienna, conducting geographical and geological observations. After the trip, he returned to Bonn and continued his studies at the University of Chemistry and Mineralogy.
Since 1851, Rath studied at the University of Berlin, where he met many famous scientists.
In 1853 after graduating from university, Rath received his Ph.D. degree in his dissertation, which became his first scientific publication, he summarized the results of research on the mineral vernerite (scapolite), made in the chemical laboratory of K. Rammelsberg.
Throughout his life Rath combined geological research with teaching and frequent travel, which were an integral part of geological research. He investigated greenstone rocks from Silesia, faded ore from Hungary and yellow apatite from Russia (Miass), participated in the geological survey of the Giant Mountains region (Sudetes, Bohemia).
In 1871 Rath took part in an expedition to Italy, the purpose of which was to study the effects of a strong earthquake in Calabria on October 4, 1870 (magnitude ~ 6.2). The participants of the trip tried to establish the connection of the earthquake with tectonic structures. Rath explored volcanic rock minerals in the vicinity of Vesuvius and continued this work at the Museum of the University of Naples. According to the results of the Italian expedition, he published a book about Vesuvius.
Rath described many new minerals, most of which he discovered himself. In 1866, he named the new mineral in honor of his first wife, Maria Rosa, the daughter of Gustav Rosa, marialite.
Rath first described tridymite, a mineral found in meteorites and lunar soil. He conducted a lot of research with scientists from other countries.
According to the results of his travels in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Norway, Italy, Hungary, Greece, Palestine, Rath published two volumes of travel notes that aroused great interest in society thanks to information not only about nature, but also about history, politics, religion, language, customs and manners of the peoples of these countries.
In 1884 he traveled to the United States and to Mexico.
Rath enjoyed a well-deserved honor at home. In 1879 he received the title of secret mountain adviser.
Rath was a member of many academies of the world, including and the Imperial St. Petersburg.
Died in Koblenz, buried in Bonn. A stele is installed on the grave, on which the profile of the scientist is carved.
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