Rebels, Mavericks, and Heretics In Biology

Yale University Press
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This book is the first devoted to modern biology's innovators and iconoclasts: men and women who challenged prevailing notions in their fields. Some of these scientists were Nobel Prize winners, some were considered cranks or gadflies, some were in fact wrong. The stories of these stubborn dissenters are individually fascinating. Taken together, they provide unparalleled insights into the role of dissent and controversy in science and especially the growth of biological thought over the past century. Each of the book's nineteen specially commissioned chapters offers a detailed portrait of the intellectual rebellion of a particular scientist working in a major area of biology--genetics, evolution, embryology, ecology, biochemistry, neurobiology, and virology as well as others. An introduction by the volume's editors and an epilogue by R. C. Lewontin draw connections among the case studies and illuminate the nonconforming scientist's crucial function of disturbing the comfort of those in the majority. By focusing on the dynamics and impact of dissent rather than on winners who are credited with scientific advances, the book presents a refreshingly original perspective on the history of the life sciences. Scientists featured in this volume: Alfred Russel Wallace Hans DrieschWilhelm JohannsenRaymond Arthur DartC. D. DarlingtonRichard GoldschmidtBarbara McClintockOswald T. AveryRoger SperryLeon CroizatVero Copner Wynne-EdwardsPeter MitchellHoward TeminMotoo KimuraWilliam D. HamiltonCarl WoeseStephen Jay GouldThelma RowellDaniel S. Simberloff
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About the author

Oren Harman is the chair of the Graduate Program in Science, Technology, and Society at Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel, the author of "The Man Who Invented the Chromosome" and "The Price of Altruism", and coeditor of "Rebels, Mavericks, and Heretics in Biology". He lives in Tel Aviv, Israel.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Yale University Press
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Published on
Dec 31, 2008
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Pages
412
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ISBN
9780300150544
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Science & Technology
Science / General
Science / Life Sciences / Biology
Social Science / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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We no longer think, like the ancient Chinese did, that the world was hatched from an egg, or, like the Maori, that it came from the tearing-apart of a love embrace. The Greeks told of a tempestuous Hera and a cunning Zeus, but we now use genes and natural selection to explain fear and desire, and physics to demystify the workings of the universe.

Science is an astounding achievement, but are we really any wiser than the ancients? Has science revealed the secrets of fate and immortality? Has it provided protection from jealousy or love? There are those who believe that science has replaced faith, but must it also be a death knell for mythology?

Evolutions brings to life the latest scientific thinking on the birth of the universe and the solar system, the journey from a single cell all the way to our human minds. Reawakening our sense of wonder and terror at the world around us and within us, Oren Harman uses modern science to create new and original mythologies. Here are the earth and the moon presenting a cosmological view of motherhood, a panicking mitochondrion introducing sex and death to the world, the loneliness of consciousness emerging from the memory of an octopus, and the birth of language in evolution summoning humankind’s struggle with truth. Science may not solve our existential puzzles, but like the age-old legends, its magical discoveries can help us continue the never-ending search.

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