Category Archives: history of science

What I did for Darwin’s Birthday

by Greg Mayer As Jerry noted at the time, this past Wednesday was Darwin’s Birthday. My evolutionary biology class met the previous day, Tuesday, and the first slide I showed for the day was the following. The “click here” in the middle of the slide led to a performance of the Beatles’ song “Birthday”. (For […]

A look at Darwiniana at Britain’s Royal Society

Reader Bryan called my attention to this video from 2016 in which Brady and Keith, who “uncover science treasures”, visit the Council Room of Britain’s Royal Society. Among the treasures they examine are the famous portrait of Darwin that you’ve surely seen, and a nice scale model of H.M.S. Beagle.  As I noted in my […]

Theological policeman? Some history of the Darwins

Here’s some interesting material on the history of evolutionary biology, posted with permission of Dr. Browne. Last night I had dinner with several people associated with Harvard, among them Janet Browne, a renowed historian of science and a professor at the University. Janet is the author, among other things, of the definitive biography of Charles […]

An Underground map of science

I may have put this up before, but can’t be arsed to look it up. This map, first published in 2010, is worth seeing again, and of course we have a new generation of readers. Crispian Jago’s “Modern Science Map” first appeared on his website The Reason Stick, and can be seen in larger and clickable […]

Monument to Wallace unveiled in Indonesia

by Greg Mayer George Beccaloni, fellow Wallaceophile, has sent word that a monument to Alfred Russel Wallace has been erected on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. As described at the Alfred Russel Wallace Website of the Wallace Memorial Fund by George and Simon Purser, the monument is a full bust, greater than life size (about […]

Feynman memorabilia for auction, including his Nobel Prize! (Also, Darwiniana and Einstein’s palm print)

This is sad, and I’m not sure why Richard Feynman’s papers and even his Nobel Prize medal are up for auction rather than going to a museum or an archive (does the family need money?). But if you want some Feynmania, Sotheby’s auction house can accommodate you. You have to have a lot of dosh, […]

The Great Sacred Ibis Debate: an episode in the history of evolutionary biology

While evolution became a big deal in 1859 with the publication of Darwin’s Origin, there were of course people who had the idea of evolutionary change before him. One of these was Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744-1839), who suggested that organisms had evolved over long periods of time, but who has become infamous for suggesting that that evolution […]

A field-trip course in England on Darwin and evolution

Every year my friend Andrew Berry, a lecturer and student advisor at Harvard, teaches a summer course at Oxford for Harvard undergrads. Its theme is Darwin and evolution, and the best part is that since the course takes place in DarwinLand, he can take the students to various historical sites and show them the science […]

Matthew’s lecture on “What makes great biology?”

I’m out of the office this morning, so Readers’ Wildlife will take a one-day hiatus. But we do have a nice half-hour video lecture from Matthew on “What makes great biology?”.  It’s largely based, as the YouTube notes say, on his interviewing or knowing personally several of the people who have done “great biology”, including […]

Sydney Brenner: A revolutionary biologist. New BBC radio programme

by Matthew Cobb Earlier this year I went to Singapore to record a series of interviews with Sydney Brenner, one of the greatest biologists of the 20th century. This was part of a Sydney Brenner Research Fellowship from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, which I was awarded to study how Brenner and Francis Crick collaborated. I […]