Andrew Berry on Alfred Russel Wallace, tweetifiedMay 4, 2013
Berry gave a wonderful, witty after-dinner talk tonight. My tweets (@trappedinlab) didn’t capture this wonder or wit very well, but here they are (in reverse chronological order, as usual).
Wallace’s reaction to “On the Origin of Species”: admiration. Wallace didn’t think he (Wallace) could have produced something similar.
Berry on teaching: If you can’t interest people in how they evolved, perhaps you should get another job.
Berry is one of the “small-print authors” of the book “How Life Works” by James Morris, Daniel Hartl et al. Evolution is the theme.
Berry’s solutions: (2) Tell stories to engage and inspire.
Berry’s solutions: (1) Thematic Content Management. e.g., Wallace organized The Malay Archipelago thematically, not chronologically.
The challenge (according to Berry):
* So much STUFF to communicate.
* Students who are disengaged, distracted.
And now for Berry’s Wallace-inspired thoughts on teaching biology.
Wallace was also quite modest. He titled his major work on evolution “Darwinism.” He contributed to his own obscurity, Berry says.
Wallace became a spiritualist, and disavowed the role of natural selection in human evolution.
After the co-publication: Darwin knuckled down and published books on evolution.
Wallace was happy to co-publish with Darwin, whom he regarded as a great scholar. He felt happy to have hit the big time, in a sense.
He was rescued after 10 days at sea.
Returning from 4 years of specimen collections in the Amazon, Wallace lost most of his specimens when his boat caught fire!
Wallace, on the other hand, was very interested on “the species problem” from a young age.
For Darwin, the voyage of the Beagle was simply an adventure — a chance to study more natural history.
July 1, 1858: Darwin and Wallace co-present their theory of natural selection at a Linnean Society meeting.
Speaker Andrew Berry went to Darwin’s high school, Shrewsberry School … which Darwin hated.
Why were both discovers of evolution British? In part, the expanse of the British empire allowed both to travel and study extensively.
At Cambridge, Darwin found William Paley’s arguments on Natural Theology (e.g., the watchmaker analogy) compelling.
Berry: Why is Darwin so much better known than Wallace even though they co-discovered evolution?
More on NWBIO 2013 speaker Andrew Berry: http://isites.harvard.edu/icb/icb.do?keyword=k5526&pageid=icb.page264537
Pre-talk activity: the sperm whale tooth for hosting NWBIO is passed from Everett C.C. to this year’s host, Columbia Basin College.
(NWBIO = Northwest Biology Instructors’ Organization = http://nwbio.net )
I was told that Berry’s visit is sponsored by the publisher @WH_Freeman. Thanks, W.H.!
The speaker is Andrew Berry of Harvard, here to help us commemorate the 100th anniversary of the death of A.R. Wallace (1823-1913).
Tonight’s post-dinner talk at NWBIO 2013: “100 years on: Alfred Russel Wallace and a few Wallace-inspired thoughts on teaching biology.”