‘Eripuit caelo fulmen sceptrumque tyrannis’ (He snatched the thunderbolt from heaven and the sceptre from tyrants) is an epigram about Benjamin Franklin, coined by the French economist and minister Anne-Robert Jacques Turgot (Möhring 2010, p. 253). It shows that Franklin achieved fame in the eighteenth century not only as co-author and signatory of the American Declaration of Independence but also as researcher into electricity and inventor of the lightning conductor.
Conrad Gessner (1516-1565), a polymath and Zurich city doctor, lived at a time when traditional knowledge was joined by a wealth of new experiences. Not only did the discovery of America open up unknown places, but also unfamiliar flora and fauna. At the same time, many ancient