Description : The papers in this volume represent original work to celebrate the centenary of the American Society of Zoologists. They illustrate the impressive nature of historical scholarship that has subsequently focused on the development of biology in the United States.
Description : Unifying Biology offers a historical reconstruction of one of the most important yet elusive episodes in the history of modern science: the evolutionary synthesis of the 1930s and 1940s. For more than seventy years after Darwin proposed his theory of evolution, it was hotly debated by biological scientists. It was not until the 1930s that opposing theories were finally refuted and a unified Darwinian evolutionary theory came to be widely accepted by biologists. Using methods gleaned from a variety of disciplines, Vassiliki Betty Smocovitis argues that the evolutionary synthesis was part of the larger process of unifying the biological sciences. At the same time that scientists were working toward a synthesis between Darwinian selection theory and modern genetics, they were, according to the author, also working together to establish an autonomous community of evolutionists. Smocovitis suggests that the drive to unify the sciences of evolution and biology was part of a global philosophical movement toward unifying knowledge. In developing her argument, she pays close attention to the problems inherent in writing the history of evolutionary science by offering historiographical reflections on the practice of history and the practice of science. Drawing from some of the most exciting recent approaches in science studies and cultural studies, she argues that science is a culture, complete with language, rituals, texts, and practices. Unifying Biology offers not only its own new synthesis of the history of modern evolution, but also a new way of "doing history."
Description : Using biographies of three natural scientists--geologist Clarence King, forester Robert Marshall, and biologist Rachel Carson--Science and the Social Good investigates the links between nature's scientific study and social improvement.
Description : Historians of the postwar transformation of science have focused largely on the physical sciences, especially the relation of science to the military funding agencies. In Shaping Biology, Toby A. Appel brings attention to the National Science Foundation and federal patronage of the biological sciences. Scientists by training, NSF biologists hoped in the 1950s that the new agency would become the federal government's chief patron for basic research in biology, the only agency to fund the entire range of biology—from molecules to natural history museums—for its own sake. Appel traces how this vision emerged and developed over the next two and a half decades, from the activities of NSF's Division of Biological and Medical Sciences, founded in 1952, through the cold war expansion of the 1950s and 1960s and the constraints of the Vietnam War era, to its reorganization out of existence in 1975. This history of NSF highlights fundamental tensions in science policy that remain relevant today: the pull between basic and applied science; funding individuals versus funding departments or institutions; elitism versus distributive policies of funding; issues of red tape and accountability. In this NSF-funded study, Appel explores how the agency developed, how it worked, and what difference it made in shaping modern biology in the United States. Based on formerly untapped archival sources as well as on interviews of participants, and building upon prior historical literature, Shaping Biology covers new ground and raises significant issues for further research on postwar biology and on federal funding of science in general. -- Margaret RossiterCornell University, author of Women Scientists in America: Before Affirmative Action, 1940-1972
Description : The early twentieth century, however, witnessed a new burst of public-oriented activity among biologists. Here Pauly chronicles such topics as the introduction of biology into high school curricula, the efforts of eugenicists to alter the "breeding" of Americans, and the influence of sexual biology on Americans' most private lives."--Jacket.
Description : Sequencing is often associated with the Human Genome Project and celebrated achievements concerning the DNA molecule. However, the history of this practice comprises not only academic biology, but also the world of computer-assisted information management. The book uncovers this history, qualifying the hype and expectations around genomics.
Description : In the 1890s, several initiatives in American botany converged. The creation of new institutions, such as the New York Botanical Garden, coincided with radical reforms in taxonomic practice and the emergence of an experimental program of research on evolutionary problems. Sharon Kingsland explores how these changes gave impetus to the new field of ecology that was defined at exactly this time. She argues that the creation of institutions and research laboratories, coupled with new intellectual directions in science, were crucial to the development of ecology as a discipline in the United States. The main concern of ecology -- the relationship between organisms and environment -- was central to scientific studies aimed at understanding and controlling the evolutionary process. Kingsland considers the evolutionary context in which ecology arose, especially neo-Lamarckian ideas and the new mutation theory, and explores the relationship between scientific research and broader theories about social progress and the evolution of human civilization. By midcentury, American ecologists were leading the rapid development of ecosystem ecology. At the same time, scientists articulated a sharp critique of modern science and society in the postwar context, foreshadowing the environmental critiques of the 1960s. As the ecosystem concept evolved, so too did debates about how human ecology should be incorporated into the biological sciences. Kingsland concludes with an examination of ecology in the modern urban environment, reflecting on how scientists are now being challenged to overcome disciplinary constraints and produce innovative responses to pressing problems. The Evolution of American Ecology, 1890--2000 offers an innovative study not only of the scientific landscape in turn-of-the-century America, but of current questions in ecological science.
Description : "In preparing this remarkable book, Ernest Hook persuaded an eminent group of scientists, historians, sociologists and philosophers to focus on the problem: why are some discoveries rejected at a particular time but later seen to be valid? The interaction of these experts did not produce agreement on 'prematurity' in science but something more valuable: a collection of fascinating papers, many of them based on new research and analysis, which sometimes forced the author to revise a previously-held opinion. The book should be enthusiastically welcomed by all readers who are interested in how science works."—Stephen G. Brush, co-author of Physics, The Human Adventure: From copernicus to Einstein and Beyond "Prematurity and Scientific Discovery contains interesting and insightful papers by numerous well-known scientists and scholars. It will be of wide interest, not only to science studies scholars but also to working scientists and to science-literate general readers."—Thomas Nickles, editor of Scientific Discovery, Logic, and Rationality