The outstanding French scholar and author of the Natural History in many volumes was very sententious: “Patience is genius,” “The style is the man.” The latter was a part of his speech upon election a member of the French Academy. By the time, he already accomplished a lot — he received excellent education, translated Newton’s works and pursued mathematics. And he was so successful that he was elected a member of the Academy of Sciences.
In those days, however, scientists did not tend to be fossilized and never focused on a single area of study. Appointed an intendant of the royal botanical garden, Buffon hurled himself into natural sciences. By the time, he was a member of the French Academy, Buffon had already published the first three volumes of the Natural History that the enlightened public met with great interest. In his lifetime, Buffon published 36 volumes of his work. Eight more volumes were printed after his death. Buffon always said that he owed three or four volumes to his servant Joseph who woke him up every morning at 6:00 a.m. despite protests and curses of the scholar who liked sleeping.
This, however, is not the only example of Buffon’s wit. Once, a certain young and innocent girl asked the biologist if he could explain the difference between the bull and the ox. Acting as a paragon of tact, Buffon said: “Do you see those calves, miss? Bulls are their fathers, while oxen are their uncles.”
Buffon’s scientific works were also very witty. He used to classify the dogs but he chose a very strange method — by the form and length of ears. Good that he did not push the matter through because, as he said, nothing is as contagious as a delusion, supported by big name.