history of science

UPDATED: A new(ish) book on Wallace in French: "Alfred Russel Wallace, plus darwiniste que Darwin mais politiquement moins correct" by Jacques Reisse

UPDATED: I received the book this morning (1 July) and have updated the post below adding the table of contents as promised.

Mooching around the library catalogue of the National Library of Armenia (as you do…) I came across a new book (published in 2013) in French on Alfred Russel Wallace I must have missed.

It is by Jacques Reisse* and titled Wallace: Alfred Russel Wallace, plus darwiniste que Darwin mais politiquement moins correct (available both as an eBook and a hard copy) and was published by the Academie Royale de Belgique.

I am quite excited about this. The interest in Wallace in Francophone countries continues to grow. Only recently a French translation of Peter Raby’s excellent Alfred Russel Wallace: A Life  was published as Alfred R. Wallace, l’explorateur de l’évolution (2013) with a welcome and interesting introduction by the philosopher and historian of science, Jean Gayon.

This growing Francophone interest is important because they clearly have a different perspective on Wallace, Darwin and the history of evolution and science more generally. These fresh perspectives are to be very warmly welcomed especially when considering the more heterodox thinking of Wallace. (more…)


BSHS Masters Bursaries: Four awards for £4,000 available for History of Science Students

The British Society for the History of Science has announced that they have opened the competition for four bursaries they have for masters students in the History of Science. The deadline is 30 June 2014.

The bursaries are worth £4,000 each and are available for students who are starting their Masters programme this academic year coming (i.e. 2014/15). The details are:

Applicants must have a confirmed place on a master’s programme in the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland. Those studying for research-based master’s degrees are eligible to apply, but not PhD students nominally registered for MPhil (or similar) provisionally pending upgrade to PhD registration. There is no nationality requirement for applicants, or an age limit. Non-members of the Society are welcome to apply.

Although they say that non-members are welcome to apply, I would strongly encourage anyone to join the society. It is an extremely active society and publishes the British Journal for the History of Science.* That being said, if you’re successful you get a year’s membership bundled in too as well as free registration to the BSHS Postgraduate Conference.

More details on how to apply can be found on the BSHS website. Good luck to anyone who is applying.


*See my posts on my book reviews published in the BJHS for June and December 2013

Alfred Russel Wallace, the Royal Society and the HMS Challenger Expedition (1872-1876)

George Beccaloni of the Natural History Museum and Wallace Fund has published a short post about Wallace’s involvement with the famous HMS Challenger science expedition which took place in the 1870s.*

Wallace was sent a copy of the ‘deep sea deposits’ volume of the Challenger report which was edited by the oceanographer–as opposed to the publisher–John Murray.^

George then discovered that Wallace’s involvement with the Challenger expedition went deeper than just personal correspondence with the Challenger project members. He was also appointed as a member of the committee for the expedition back on 21 March 1872. Indeed, as Charles Smith has noted, Nature published a note of his membership of the committee on 31 October 1872. (more…)

IN PRESS: "Alfred Russel Wallace’s Introduction to Botany Through John Lindley"

I have recently had accepted for publication a short note on Alfred Russel Wallace’s early introduction to botany through the works of John Lindley.

In it I raise new material which pinpoints the first botanical text Wallace owned, read and used which reinforces the importance of Lindley–who was the inaugural Professor of Botany at University College London–in Wallace’s early adventures into natural history.

Obviously it is known that Wallace owned Lindley’s Elements of Botany early on, but this pushes Lindley’s influence earlier than that and fills in a gap in our knowledge of Wallace’s earliest botanical experience.

Despite its short length (under 1500 words) it took some time to finalise this piece of research due to the lack of foundational facts that existed. Hopefully it will be of interest once it is published next year.

As it stands, it will be published by the Archives of Natural History in April 2015. I will, obviously, post it once it is printed.