I finished my first week of internship at Yellowstone National Park‘s Heritage and Research Center in Gardiner, Montana. YNP historian Lee Whittlesey, who I am working with, has given me the following tasks. First, I am searching an online newspaper archive for articles which contain information about people’s visits to the park, dating between 1870-1890. Previous interns have done this before, but the website is always adding new material, so I am looking for stuff that past interns haven’t printed out and added to the big stack. Actually, my first task was to put all the stacks of articles from years before in chronological order. Took me about 2 days to do that. Second, I am to read through several books of accounts of visits to parks, for example Nathaniel P. Langford‘s The Discovery of Yellowstone Park, and note any references to Indian trails. I enjoy reading these accounts, but I have only read two (1, 2) so far. And third, I am to do a 10-15 page paper on a Yellowstone topic of my choosing, and advice was given to me that choosing a topic in which the information can be found while doing my other tasks would be smart. I have chosen to look at the use of religious nomenclature in early descriptions of the park, especially the use of infernal language, such as descriptions of Yellowstone as Hell, or the naming of geological features as Devil’s Slide, Devil’s Den, etc.
That said, I have decided to disperse a mega-post of information and links for the previous week. As you will see below, it is split up by broad topics for the ease of the reader to find what he/she would be more interested in reading. Sorry about the inconsistency in spacing, but I can’t seem to fix it right now…
NOTABLE HISTORY OF SCIENCE EVENTS:
Lord Kelvin was born
: Lord Kelvin
(June 26, 1824-Dec. 17, 1907) Born as William Thomson, he became an influential physicist, mathematician and engineer who has been described as a Newton
of his era. At Glasgow University, Scotland, he was a professor for over half a century. The name he made for himself was more than just a temperature scale
. His activities ranged from being the brains behind the laying of a transatlantic telephone cable
, to attempting to calculate the age of the earth from its rate of cooling
. In 1892, when raised to the peerage as Baron Kelvin of Largs, he had chosen the name from the Kelvin River, near Glasgow.
Gilbert White died: Gilbert White (July 18, 1720-June 26, 1795) English cleric and pioneering naturalist, known as the “father of English natural history.” Over the course of 20 years of his observations and two colleagues’ letters, he studied a wide range of flora and fauna seen around his hometown of Selborne, Hampshire. In 1789, he published this studious work. His book The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne contained observations of nature drawn from life. The book has been in print continuously since 1789, and is the fourth most published book in the English language.
June 29th: Thomas Henry Huxley died: see this post about Huxley
Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker was born: Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker (June 30, 1817-Dec. 10, 1911) English botanist who was assistant on Sir James Ross’s Antarctic expedition and whose botanical travels to foreign lands included India, Palestine and the U.S., from which he became a leading taxonomists in his time. His Student’s Flora of the British Islands became a standard text. He was a great friend of Charles Darwin, and they collaborated in research. With Sir [Charles] Lyell, Hooker encouraged the publication of Darwin’s theory of evolution. He served (1855-65) as assistant director to his father, Sir William Jackson Hooker, of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, whom he succeeded as director for another 20 years. He was also a president of the Royal Society. At age 94, he died in his sleep and was buried at Kew.
C.P. Snow died: C.P. Snow (October 15, 1905 -July 1, 1980) Baron C(harles) P(ercy) Snow was a British former physicist, turned novelist and government administrator. In 1959, C.P. Snow gave a controversial lecture called The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution claiming there were two cultures – the literary intellectuals and the scientists, who didn’t understand each other and didn’t trust each other. The split was not new; Snow noted that in the 1930s, literary theorists had begun to use the word “intellectual” to refer only to themselves. He illustrated this gap by asking a group of literary intellectuals to tell him about the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which he called the scientific equivalent of ‘Have you read a work of Shakespeare?'” Since then, debate about this polarization has continued. [Richard Carter of The Red Notebook discusses Snow in a recent post.]
DARWIN, NATURAL HISTORY, HISTORY OF SCIENCE (evolution related):
Afarensis: Darwin Speaks Out Against the Cruelty of Steel Jawed Traps and Darwin on Self and Cross Fertilization
The Beagle Project Blog: John Murray was Charles Darwin’s publisher, Beagle plankton sampling, and 26 June 1832: Beagle gets bigger teeth
Thoughts in a Haystack reviews Janet Browne’s “bibliobiography” of On the Origin of Species
Down House proposal withdrawn at Pharyngula
Pioneering Galapagos Trip for Cambridge Geologists at physorg.com (“Specimens, collected on the trip, will be used by Andrew for an undergraduate research project before being exhibited at the Sedgwick Museum as part of a new exhibition “Charles Darwin the Geologist,” to be opened in 2009.”)
Darwin’s Intuition (Logical/Historical) at Web Log of Dr. Tom O’Connell
Flowers, Moths, and History of Science at The Austringer
Can Biology Textbooks Recover from Over-Praising Darwin? at Evolution News & Views
EVOLUTION, NATURAL SELECTION, GENETICS, ETC.:
Blue Cat Blog has two posts
CREATIONISM & INTELLIGENT DESIGN:
Richard Dawkins reviews The Edge of Evolution for The New York Times
Parts V and VI of Darwin Central‘s “A Look at Creation ‘Science'” (links to parts I-IV here)
Beyond these, the links to posts on creationism and intelligent design are very numerous. I would suggest checking out these blogs for this topic in the last week: Darwiniana, EvolutionBlog, Pharyngula, and Red State Rabble for the evolution side, and Evolution News & Views and Uncommon Descent for the creationism/ID side.
MUSEUMS, COLLECTIONS, ETC.:
Mike the Mad Biologist discusses How Museums Teach Evolution…
Things that are pretty: London’s Natural History Museum at The World’s Fair
Napolean’s Toothbrush at Greg Laden (about the Wellcome Collection)
Edinburgh Evening News: Archive collection turns back pages of history (John Murray archive)
OTHER HISTORY OF SCIENCE:
Newton’s Secret at ThinkingShift
Walking With Triceratops at Laelaps (some paleo history)
Walcott vs. the Cambrian, Dawkins vs. Gould vs. Fortey at The Voltage Gate (some more paleo history)
Wikipedia’s History of Science entry at Liberals in Exile