German entomologist; b. at Aachen, Jan. 20, 1810; d. in the same city, Aug. 12, 1884
Forster, ARNOLD, German entomologist; b. at Aachen, January 20, 1810; d. in the same city, August 12, 1884. His father died while he was quite young, and it was only by strict economy and by tutoring that he was able to complete his gymnasium course, which he began in 1824. He was an apt student, and showed a decided preference for natural history. The entomologist Meigen, who resided in the neighborhood, fostered and directed this preference and his influence may be traced throughout Forster’s subsequent work in entomology. Forster began the study of medicine at Bonn in 1832, but soon abandoned it to devote himself entirely to natural science. He made rapid progress, and, while still a student, became assistant to Goldfuss and tutor in his family. In 1836 he was appointed instructor in the high school—known today as the Realgymnasium—of his native city, with which he was connected until his death.
Forster was a conscientious teacher, and endeavored to awaken in his pupils a love of and interest in the wonders of nature. His wealth of knowledge and his untiring spirit of research would, however, have found a wider and more suitable field in the university than in the gymnasium. Most of his leisure was devoted to his studies in entomology, though botany also claimed part of his attention. He was regarded in particular as an authority in the “microhymenoptera”. He was an indefatigable collector and a keen observer, but was inclined to magnify minute differences, and so multiply species and divisions. Forster belonged to a number of societies of natural history, and carried on an extensive correspondence with entomologists both at home and abroad. In 1853 he received the degree of Doctor of Philosophy honoris causa at Bonn, and in 1855 the title of professor from the Minister of Instruction. He was abstemious in his habits, and a devout and practical Catholic, conspicuous for his charity towards the poor. Among his papers on entomology are “Beitrage zur Monographie der Pteromalinen”; “Einige neuen Arten aus der Familie der Blattwespen”; “Hymenopterologische Studien”; “Monographie der Gattungen Campoplex u. Hylieus”; “Flora Excursoria des Regierungsbezirks Aachen“.
HENRY M. BROCK