Eduard Rübel (1876–1960)


Eduard August Rübel was born in Zurich on 18 July 1876.

Following a chemistry degree at the Federal Polytechnic Institute in Zurich (now ETH Zurich) and a doctorate at the University of Zurich, he conducted botanical research as a scientist under ETH Zurich professor Carl Schröter (1855 to 1939). He became a private lecturer in botany at ETH Zurich in 1917 and an adjunct professor in 1923.

President the Schweizerische Naturforschende Gesellschaft (Swiss Naturalist Society)

He was President of the Schweizerische Naturforschende Gesellschaft (Swiss Naturalist Society) from 1929 to 1934, when he resigned as a lecturer at ETH Zurich to devote himself to family research (genealogy). In 1958 he bequeathed the Rübel Geobotanical Research Institute (external link) he had founded in 1918 to ETH Zurich.

His greatest scientific achievement is regarded as the advancement of plant geography via various monographs, including the standard work Die Pflanzengesellschaften der Erde from 1930.

Eduard Rübel died on 24 June 1960.


Letter to Arnold Heim

Brief an Arnold Heim

Eduard Rübel confirms that the Schweizerische Naturforschende Gesellschaft (Swiss Naturalist Society) will support Arnold Heim’s expedition to Nepal in 1935 with a grant of CHF 10,000. From Arnold Heim’s personal papers, Hs 495:2014.


ETH-Bibliothek holds Eduard Rübel's personal papers (Hs 448) with numerous manuscripts and letters. The corresponding index (external link) can be accessed online. Diverse personal papers contain additional letters sent by Rübel. Moreover, besides his personal papers, the ETH Zurich University Archives also own a biographical file on Rübel, complete with numerous obituaries and brief biographical articles. Several portraits and group photographs are located in the Image Archive’s Portrait Collection.

Skizze Rübels

Illustrations from Rübel's article "Alpenmatten-Ueberwinterungsstrategien" for Carl Schröter's commemorative publication, taken from Rübel’s personal papers (Hs 448:19). They feature Curvuletum on the Diavolezzasee, which Rübel discovered under a two-metre blanket of snow at an altitude of 2,580 metres in January 1924. Hs 448: 19, Taf.II.

ETH-Bibliothek also owns numerous publications by Eduard Rübel, which are available for loan, and the commemorative publication for his sixtieth birthday (reports of the Botanical Society of Switzerland, No.46, 1936).