History of Science Open Thread

View Images

It’s only been in the last year that I’ve obtained a deeper appreciation for the history of science. Natural history is utterly enthralling, of course, but the history of the naturalists that have shaped our understanding of the world are just as fascinating. For my own part, the essays of Stephen Jay Gould (particularly in The Lying Stones of Marrakech, which I first picked up last year) have given me a deeper appreciation for the history of thought in paleontology and evolution. In fact, I was so struck with Gould’s titular essay from Lying Stones that I immediately ordered a copy of The Lying Stones of Dr. Johann Bartholomew Adam Beringer and have been after old, yellowing texts ever since.

Although the history of a particular discipline is exciting there are some figures that I have wanted to know more about than others; as is readily apparent from this blog I have developed a much deeper interest for the life and work of T.H. Huxley in recent months. I just received Adrian Desmon’s biography Huxley and have been greedily devouring it. I still do not know very much about him as a person, scientific papers only allow so much depth to be gauged (and perhaps by the time I close the biography I will have taken a different perspective), but I wanted to use my recent concentration of interest to ask a question. Is there a particular person in the history of science who you are particularly interested in or drawn to? How did that interest come about & develop? Feel free to share in the comments; I’m sure readers here have a diversity of “favorites.”