Otto Hahn (petrologist)

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Picture of Otto Hahn (1828 - 1904)
Cover Photo, Die Meteorite (Chondrite) und ihre Organismen, Table 22 Figure 3

Otto Hahn (1828 – 1904) was a German petrologist, geologist, lawyer and author. His father was Johann Franz Gottlieb Hahn (1789 – 1844). His great-grandfather was Christian Tobias Hahn (1759 – 1837), who was the half-brother of Philipp Matthäus Hahn.[1]

Hahn started his career as a lawyer. He eventually left the legal profession for the natural sciences. The University of Tübingen awarded him a doctorate for his participation in the Eozoön canadense controversy.[2] He was an active member of The New Church (Swedenborgian)[3] and was a Neptunist.[4] He published Die Urzelle in 1879.[5] His book Die Meteorite (Chondrite) und ihre Organismen[6], published the following year in 1880, was a major work in the field of meteoritics that included 142 black and white photomicrographs of chondrite thin sections. In this latter work Hahn proposed the theory that the chondrites consist entirely of fossilized organic remains of life-forms, namely, fossilized sponges, corals, and crinoids.[7][8][9] In addition, he claimed that the iron meteorites have an organic origin and that they are the petrified remains of a fungus or plant that was permeated with iron-nickel alloys, e.g. similar to ichnotaxa like the Chondrites.[10]

Selected works[edit]

  • Die Urzelle: Nebst dem Beweis, dass Granit, Gneiss, Serpetin, Talk, gewisse Sandsteine, auch Basalt, endlich Meteorstein und Meteoreisen aus Pflanzen bestehen: Die Entwicklungslehre durch Thatsachen neu begründet , 1879 – The Primordial Cell: In Addition to the Proof that Granite, Gneiss, Serpentine, Talc, certain Sandstones, including Basalt, finally Meteorite and Meteoric Iron Consists of Plants: The Development of Theory Newly Established by Facts.[11]
  • Die Meteorite (Chondrite) und ihre Organismen, 1880 – The Meteorite (Chondrite) and its Organisms.[12][13]
  • Die Noth unserer Bauern und ihre Ursachen, 1880 – The Hardship of our Peasants and their Causes.[14][15]
  • Das Recht auf Arbeit: staatsrechtlich und volkswirthschaftlich auf Grund der Kaiserlich Botschaft vom 17. Nov 1881 erörtert, 1885 – The Right to Work: Constitutionally and Economically Discussed on the Basis of the Imperial Message of Nov 17, 1881.[16][17]
  • Perpetua: Ein Trauerspiel aus der Zeit der ersten Christen, 1888 – Perpetua: A Tragedy from the Time of the First Christians.[18][19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Otto Hahn (1828-1904) Stationen auf dem Lebensweg eines Hahn-Paulus-Nachkommen: Der swedenborgische Einfluß des Großvaters Karl Heinrich Ernst Paulus und Otto Hahns Bestrebungen im Bruderhaus Gustav Werners in Reutlingen p. 1-3
  2. ^ Wyhe, John van. 2010
  3. ^ Otto Hahn (1828-1904) p. 3-4
  4. ^ The Meteorite and its Organisms, Hermann Karsten, 1881, p. 14
  5. ^ WorldCat permalink
  6. ^ WorldCat permalink
  7. ^ The Discovery of Organic Remains in Meteoric Stones, Francis Birgham, 1881
  8. ^ Fossil Organisms in Meteorites, Geo. W. Rachel, 1881
  9. ^ English translation, Section 2, Chapter 3: "All Life"
  10. ^ English translation, Section 3: "The Iron Meteorites"
  11. ^ German text
  12. ^ German text
  13. ^ English translation
  14. ^ WorldCat permalink
  15. ^ German scan
  16. ^ WorldCat permalink
  17. ^ German scan
  18. ^ WorldCat permalink
  19. ^ German scan