Please join the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany for a discussion between Dr. Andrew O’Shaughnessy (Saunders Director of the ICJS and Vice President of Monticello) and Dr. Sandra Rebok on the significance of Thomas Jefferson and Alexander von Humboldt for the sciences and transatlantic relationships.

Meeting President Jefferson in Washington was certainly a highlight for the Prussian explorer Alexander von Humboldt during his visit to the United States in spring of 1804. The personal encounter of both enlightened minds, and the knowledge and ideas they exchanged, has raised much interests on both sides of the Atlantic. However, some doubts still persist concerning Humboldt´s reasons for this visit, the nature of the information he facilitated Jefferson, the reasons for this generosity, and how useful it was for president´s strategic pursuits at this time.

Dr. Rebok will address these questions, based on latest research results, and discuss the significance of Humboldt and Jefferson for the sciences and the transatlantic relationship in our times.

About the Speaker

Dr. Sandra Rebok is an author, speaker, historian of knowledge, and a scientific consultant. Trained in Heidelberg, Paris and Madrid, she worked for many years at the Spanish National Research Council. Her research focuses on the globalization of science, intellectual networks and transnational scientific collaborations during the 19th century. She has over twenty years of experience in Humboldt scholarship, and is the author of several books on Humboldt and the editor of three of his works in Spanish. Her last book discusses his intellectual exchange with Thomas Jefferson (Jefferson and Humboldt, 2014) and her forthcoming monograph analyzes his position between the Spanish Empire and the expanding United States (Humboldt’s Empire of Knowledge, 2021). Currently, she is working on a new book that analyzes the Humboldt’s networks of knowledge within the United States (Expanding the Frontiers of American Science). Dr. Rebok has held several fellowships at Monticello's Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies.


This event is co-hosted by the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany.

For more information on this and other ICJS programming, please contact Whitney Pippin at