Over two-and-a-half years ago I posted the links to a series of articles in the Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America: “A History of the Ecological Sciences.” Then there were 27 installments, all by Frank N. Egerton, and now he’s up to #36 (Update: I added #37-42 on July 30, 2012):
by Richard Conniff
From Today in Science History:
John Locke (Born 29 Aug 1632; died 28 Oct 1704). English physician who was the most important philosopher during the Age of Reason. He spent over 20 years developing the ideas he published in most significant work, Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690) which analysed the nature of human reason, and promoted experimentation as the basis of knowledge. He established primary qualities, (ex. solidity, extension, number) as distinct from secondary qualities identified by the sense organs (ex. colour, sound). Thus the world is otherwise silent and without colour. Locke recognised that science is made possible when the primary world mechanically affects the sense organs, thereby creating ideas that faithfully represent reality. He was an acquaintance of Robert Boyle.
Darwin invited as Beagle naturalist In 1831, Charles Darwin returned home from a geology field trip in North Wales to find letters from Revd. John Henslow and George Peacock informing him that he will soon be invited on a scientific voyage of HMS Beagle. He was 22 years old, and had just graduated from Cambridge University. The offer was to be a naturalist on H.M.S. Beagle for a two year survey of South America, leaving on 25 Sep. Although he immediately accepted the offer, his father and sisters were opposed. They regarded it as an idle pursuit that would delay his expected career in the clergy. His father, however, was prepared to change his mind, but only if Darwin could find a qualified man who viewed the exploit as worthwhile. Darwin spent the next two days doing just that.
Oops, Richard made a mistake.
First, thank you so very much to Karen James (not nunatak) of The HMS Beagle Project for sending me the catalogue and map accompanying the “Darwin’s Garden” exhibit she got during her visit as a graduation gift. Second, Gloria Park of Thirteen/WNET New York informed me that tonight, “NEW YORK VOICES, Thirteen/WNET’s award-winning weekly public affairs series, will air a special half-hour documentary on the current Charles Darwin exhibit at The New York Botanical Garden.” The press release:
THIRTEEN/WNET’S NEW YORK VOICES EXPLORES THE UNTOLD STORY OF CHARLES DARWIN TUESDAY, MAY 20 AT 10:30 P.M.
30-Minute Special Features Exhibit Presented By The New York Botanical Garden
Thirteen/WNET’s NEW YORK VOICES captures the multifaceted exhibition chronicling Darwin’s lifelong fascination with plants and flowers currently on display at The New York Botanical Garden.
The NEW YORK VOICES special premieres Tuesday, May 20 at 10:30 p.m.
Using Darwin’s original manuscripts and writings, The Botanical Garden demonstrates his contribution and impact to science, highlighting our understanding of natural selection and evolution today. Using the plants and flowers that appeared in his drawings such as primroses, climbing plants and orchids, the exhibit also recreates Darwin’s garden and greenhouse where he conducted many of his bontanical experiments.
NEW YORK VOICES host Rafael Pi Roman speaks with biologist and author Dr. Edward O. Wilson about Darwin’s legacy. The program will also examine the latest perspectives on Darwin’s theories from scientists, environmentalists and scholars who presented at a symposium earlier this month as a part of The Botanical Garden’s exhibit.
The program concludes with a tour of The Botanical Garden’s children’s exhibit featuring their hands-on, interactive displays introducing young visitors to Darwin’s theories and adventures around the world.Visit www.thirteen.org/nyvoices to watch the most recent episode or search our archives.
What happens while I lay in bed sound asleep? Well, Karen of The H.M.S. Beagle Project beats me (she’s six hours ahead of me) to posting about another Darwin exhibit and event. Honestly, I planned to post it this morning anyways, when I saw it advertised in the latest Natural History magazine last night while listening about the Beagle Project on Atheists Talk (mp3 direct link).
Curated by Darwin historian David Kohn (The Darwinian Heritage, Darwin on Evolution), Darwin’s Garden: An Evolutionary Adventure opens at the New York Botanical Garden on April 25 (until June 15). From the website:
Charles Darwin is best known for his theory of evolution and other natural history achievements, but little is known about his enduring and insightful work with plants and the important role they played in formulating his ideas. Yet from cradle to grave, botany played a pivotal role in Darwin’s life. From counting peonies and playing under the apple trees in his father’s garden as a boy to collecting “all the plants in flower” on his famous voyage to the Galápagos as a young man and testing the sex and sensitivity of plants at his home, Down House, in his later years, plants were a lifelong preoccupation for Darwin.
Darwin’s Garden: An Evolutionary Adventure explores the untold story of Darwin’s botanical influences, his research, and his contribution to our understanding of plants, and ultimately, of life in general. The exhibition is featured in three Botanical Garden venues and includes an “evolutionary tour” of living plants that demonstrate key points on the tree of life, which links all living beings through a common ancestry.
Along with the formal exhibit, there is reproduction of Darwin’s garden, a symposium in early May, and an interactive children’s exhibit (with activity).
Damn, New York is way over on the east coast, and I am in the middle of the continent… If anyone goes to see the exhibits or symposia, please share….
For anyone interested in Darwin and his botanical work, due out in this spring is The Aliveness of Plants: The Darwins at the Dawn of Plant Science by Peter Ayres. From the publisher:
The Darwin family was instrumental in the history of botany. For Erasmus (1731–1802), it was a hobby, for Charles (1809–1882) an inspiration, and for Francis (1848–1925), a profession. Their experiences illustrate the growing specialization and professionalization of science throughout the nineteenth century. Ayres shows how botany escaped the burdens of medicine, feminization and the sterility of classification and nomenclature to become a rigorous laboratory science.
I’ll be in San Francisco for an afternoon in a few weeks, in between visiting my family in Southern California and my wife’s near Sacramento. I’m thinking about what we should do/see that afternoon… and of course the one place I would really like to see, the California Academy of Sciences, is closed until Fall of this year! They are moving into a whole new green facility in Golden Gate Park…
Anyone have suggestions for an afternoon in SF with a two year old?
Born this day:
Charles-Marie de La Condamine (Born 28 Jan 1701; died 4 Feb 1774). French naturalist and mathematician who became particularly interested in geodesy (earth measurement). He was put in charge by the King of France of an expedition to Equador to measure a meridional arc at the equator (1735-43). It was wished to determine whether the Earth was either flattened or elongated at its poles. He then accomplished the first scientific exploration of the Amazon River (1743) on a raft, studying the region, and brought the drug curare to Europe. He also worked on establishment of a universal unit of length, and is credited with developing the idea of vaccination against smallpox, later perfected by Edward Jenner. However, he was almost constantly ill and died in 1773, deaf and completely paralyzed.
Sir T.W. Edgeworth David (Born 28 Jan 1858; died 28 Aug 1934). Sir T(annatt) W(illiam) Edgeworth David was a Welsh-born Australian geologist who produced an extensive study of the geology of Australia, including the first geological map of the Sydney-Newcastle Basin. He also researched the evidence of major glaciations in Australia of the Upper Paleozoic time (from 345- to 225- million years ago). In 1897, he drilled to a depth of 340-m at Funafuti Atoll in an effort to verify Darwin’s theory of the formation of coral atolls. Whereas his results supported Darwin’s ideas, they were short of absolute proof. He served as scientific officer of the Shackleton Antarctic Expedition from 1907-9, and led the party that first reached the southern magnetic pole on 16 Jan 1909, which was on land at that time.