Monthly Archives: July 2011

Nothing sucks seeds like succession: how a 17th Century Irish Archbishop invented modern ecology

If one could choose from among the several notable Irish William Kings who might possibly serve as first recorder of a hypothesis on the development of bog vegetation you might choose wrongly.  The three candidates: William King soldier and politician, … Continue reading

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History of Science Society annual meeting

The History of Science Society (HSS) is meeting in Cleveland between November 3rd and 6th. The meeting will be co-located with the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT) and the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S). Registration for … Continue reading

Posted in astronomy, History | 1 Comment

[Review] The Genius of Erasmus Darwin

C.U.M. Smith & Robert Arnott, eds. The Genius of Erasmus Darwin , Burlington VT: Ashgate, 2005, xvii + 416 pp., illus, $130. As we approach [This review appeared in Journal of the History of Biology 41(4): 766 – 768 in 2008] the bicentennial of … Continue reading

Posted in Biology, Book Reviews, History | 1 Comment

Quaking bogs and other Shaky Ground: some thoughts on the history of phytosociology

In the early 1980s I volunteered to work in Killarney National Park in Ireland on a project to rid the oak woodlands of Rhododendron ponticum, an invasive shrub that was encroaching in the understory of this habitat.  The concern was … Continue reading

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The God of Disruption – an Ecological History of Creation

In the beginning was the disturbance: God disrupted the pristine formlessness of the deep and created the heavens and the earth.  Literally in a flash.  With His utterance, the darkness was relegated to Night; the light He called Day.  Waters … Continue reading

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Teleskopos: How the telescope got its name

In the following I shall sketch the historical events that led up to a simple tube with two lenses acquiring the, to quote Becky, ‘fancy-shmancy’ Greek name teleskopos.

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I have just set up teleskopos, my new blogging home. I thought it was about time I found a place of my own, although I will be continuing to cross-post at Whewell’s Ghost. It is something of a work-in-progress, as I … Continue reading

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Kant’s body and other natural disasters

This post is part of a series of occasional posts concerning the body and ecology.  I start somewhat circuitously by examining the body in the work of Kant. Friedrich Nietzsche, in tones braggadocio, prefaced his intellectual autobiography, Ecce Homo: How … Continue reading

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Why should we care about the history of science?

Why should we care about the history of science? Historian of science Nathaniel Comfort offers his perspective in a multi-part posting. See here, here, here and here.

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Some Thoughts on Historians and Contemporary Anti-evolutionism.

In a recent book review for The British Journal for the History of Science, Thomas Dixon asks what contribution historians of science can make to the debate about intelligent design (ID). As myself and others noted in a 2008 Isis Focus article, … Continue reading

Posted in History, Religion | 3 Comments