April 11, 2005
Lynn Margulis on Ernst Mayr, Biologist Extraordinaire
From American Scientist:
The death of the last of the great evolutionary biologists of the 20th century concluded an intellectual movement in the study of evolution—a point of view whose most striking aspect was the extent to which all of the evolutionary history of life on Earth was perceived as a subdiscipline of biology. Whereas Thomas Kuhn, author of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, might have called it a paradigm, Ludwik Fleck (author of Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact, 1935) would have recognized the correlated demise of neo-Darwinism and the death of Professor Mayr as a paradigm lost.
An accomplished naturalist, Ernst Mayr began his work in 1923 at the age of 19. The last of his 25 books, a collection of essays called What Makes Biology Unique? Considerations on the Autonomy of a Scientific Discipline, was published by Cambridge University Press in the summer of 2004, one month after his 100th birthday!
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