Charles Darwin, Geologist

Charles Darwin, Geologist

"Pleasure of imagination.... I a geologist have illdefined notion of land covered with ocean, former animals, slow force cracking surface &c truly poetical."--from Charles Darwin's Notebook M, 1838 The early nineteenth century was a golden age for the study of geology. New discoveries in the field were greeted with the same enthusiasm reserved today for advances in the biomedical sciences. In her long-awaited account of Charles Darwin's intellectual development, Sandra Herbert focuses on his geological training, research, and thought, asking both how geology influenced Darwin and how Darwin influenced the science. Elegantly written, extensively illustrated, and informed by the author's prodigious research in Darwin's papers and in the nineteenth-century history of earth sciences, Charles Darwin, Geologist provides a fresh perspective on the life and accomplishments of this exemplary thinker. As Herbert reveals, Darwin's great ambition as a young scientist--one he only partially realized--was to create a "simple" geology based on movements of the earth's crust. (Only one part of his scheme has survived in close to the form in which he imagined it: a theory explaining the structure and distribution of coral reefs.) Darwin collected geological specimens and took extensive notes on geology during all of his travels. His grand adventure as a geologist took place during the circumnavigation of the earth by H.M.S. Beagle (1831-1836)--the same voyage that informed his magnum opus, On the Origin of Species. Upon his return to England it was his geological findings that first excited scientific and public opinion. Geologists, including Darwin's former teachers, proved a receptive audience, the British government sponsored publication of his research, and the general public welcomed his discoveries about the earth's crust. Because of ill health, Darwin's years as a geological traveler ended much too soon: his last major geological fieldwork took place in Wales when he was only thirty-three. However, the experience had been transformative: the methods and hypotheses of Victorian-era geology, Herbert suggests, profoundly shaped Darwin's mind and his scientific methods as he worked toward a full-blown understanding of evolution and natural selection.

Darwin's Island

The Galapagos in the Garden of England

Darwin's Island

The Origin of Species is the most famous book in science but its stature tends to obscure the genius of Charles Darwin's other works. The Beagle voyage, too, occupied only five of the fifty years of his career. He spent only five weeks on the Galapagos and on his return never left Britain again. Darwin wrote six million words, in nineteen books and innumerable letters, on topics as different as dogs, barnacles, insect-eating plants, orchids, earthworms, apes and human emotion. Together, they laid the foundations of modern biology. In this beautifully written, witty and illuminating book, Steve Jones explores the domestic Darwin, the sage of Kent, and brings his work up to date. Great Britain was Charles Darwin's other island, its countryside as much, or more, a place of discovery than had been the Galapagos. It traces the great naturalist's second journey across its modest landscape: a voyage not of the body but of the mind.

Darwin in Galápagos

Footsteps to a New World

Darwin in Galápagos

Recreates the scientist's historic visit to the Galapagos Islands using his original notebooks and logs, the latest findings by scholars and researchers, and the authors' first-hand knowledge of the archipelago.

Inscribing Science

Scientific Texts and the Materiality of Communication

Inscribing Science

Metaphors of inscription and writing figure prominently in all levels of discourse in and about science. The description of nature as a book written in the language of mathematics has been a common trope since at least the time of Galileo, a metaphor supplemented in our own day by the characterization of DNA sequences as the code for the book of life, decipherable in terms of protein semantic units. An important recent direction in the fields of science and literature studies is to consider such descriptions as more than metaphoric, as revelatory of the processes of signification in science more generally. Nearly everywhere we look, the "semiotic turn” is upon us. Recent science and technology studies have been characterized by a rich diversity of research directions, manifesting several trends apparently counter to one another. On the one hand stands the rich tradition of detailed microstudies of experiments, instruments, and scientific practice; on the other hand are grouped studies grander in scope, aimed at examining science within the framework of cultural production. This volume of sixteen essays seeks common ground among these different approaches by juxtaposing work from historically focused science and literature studies with work inspired by poststructuralist philosophy and semiotics. The contributors are Gillian Beer, Lisa Bloom, Robert Brain, Lorraine Daston, Richard M. Doyle, David Gugerli, Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, Friedrich Kittler, Timothy Lenoir, Alex Pang, Philip Prodger, Hans-Jörg Rheinberger, Robin Rider, Brian Rotman, Simon Schaffer, and Bernhard Siegert.

Charles Darwin:And the Evolution Revolution

Charles Darwin:And the Evolution Revolution

Examines the personality as well as the thought process which led this naturalist to his discoveries which have helped shape our understanding of the natural world.

Life on Earth: A-G

Life on Earth: A-G

An examination of nature's extraordinary biological diversity and the human activities that threaten it. * 200+ A–Z detailed entries on Earth's ecosystems, major groups of organisms, threats to biodiversity, and academic disciplines related to the study of biodiversity * Contributions from 50 recognized authorities from the fields of anthropology, biology, botany, earth science, ecology, evolution, and more * 150 photographs of key people, animals, and organisms; line drawings; tables, charts, and graphs including the major families of birds, the effects of agricultural intensity on biodiversity, and the number of years needed to add each billion to the world's population * Four major overview essays explaining what biodiversity is, why it is important, how it is threatened, and the Sixth Global Extinction

Henry Thoreau

A Life of the Mind

Henry Thoreau

This biography of Henry Thoreau offers insight into his social activism, his interest in fine arts, William Gilpin and John Ruskin's influence on his nature writing, and his involvement in, and influence by, the Agassiz-Darwin debate over "The Origin of Species."

Darwin's Desolate Islands

A Naturalist in the Falklands 1833-1834

Darwin's Desolate Islands


Collecting Evolution

The Galapagos Expedition That Vindicated Darwin

Collecting Evolution

In 1905, eight men from the California Academy of Sciences set sail from San Francisco for a scientific collection expedition in the Galapagos Islands, and by the time they were finished in 1906, they had completed one of the most important expeditions in the history of both evolutionary and conservation science. These scientists collected over 78,000 specimens during their time on the islands, validating the work of Charles Darwin and laying the groundwork for foundational evolution texts like Darwin's Finches. Despite its significance, almost nothing has been written on this voyage, lost amongst discussion of Darwin's trip on the Beagle and the writing of David Lack. In Collecting Evolution, author Matthew James finally tells the story of the 1905 Galapagos expedition. James follows these eight young men aboard the Academy to the Galapagos and back, and reveals the reasons behind the groundbreaking success they had. A current Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, James uses his access to unpublished writings and photographs to provide unprecedented insight into the expedition. We learn the voyagers' personal stories, and how, for all the scientific progress that was made, just as much intense personal drama unfolded on the trip. This book shares a watershed moment in scientific history, crossed with a maritime adventure. There are four tangential suicides and controversies over credit and fame. Collecting Evolution also explores the personal lives and scientific context that preceded this voyage, including what brought Darwin to the Galapagos on the Beagle voyage seventy years earlier. James discusses how these men thought of themselves as "collectors" before they thought of themselves as scientists, and the implications this had on their approach and their results. In the end, the voyage of the Academy proved to be crucial in the development of evolutionary science as we know it. It is the longest expedition in Galapagos history, and played a critical role in cementing Darwin's legacy. Collecting Evolution brings this extraordinary story of eight scientists and their journey to life.

How and why Species Multiply

The Radiation of Darwin's Finches

How and why Species Multiply

Throughout, the Grants show how the laboratory tools of developmental biology and molecular genetics can be combined with observations and experiments on birds in the field to gain deeper insights into why the world is so biologically rich and diverse."--BOOK JACKET.