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The Map that Changed the World

by Simon Winchester
New York: Harper Perennial, 2002. 352 pages.

In The Map that Changed the World, Simon Winchester tells the practically Dickensian story of William Smith and his struggle to create what was arguably the first true geological map. Winchester writes, "Geology, it seems almost redundant to say, underlies and underpins everything: the site of every city, every gold mine, every field, every island is determined purely by geology — and humanity's condition is more directly influenced by geology than by any other aspect of the natural world.

The Seashell on the Mountaintop

by Alan Cutler
New York: Dutton Adult, 2003. 240 pages.

A new book about Niels Stensen (1638-86) — Nicolaus Stenonius in Latin, or Steno for short — the Danish anatomist-turned-geologist who was arguably the founder of the science of geology. Writing in The New York Times, NCSE President Kevin Padian praised Cutler "for making one think about what qualifies as an explanation, and for exploring the endless debates that mix strands of partial knowledge with the need to reconcile religious testaments."

Measuring Eternity: The Search for the Beginning of Time

by Martin Gorst
New York: Broadway Books, 2002. 352 pages.

In Measuring Eternity, Martin Gorst provides a readable and engaging account of attempts to ascertain the age of the world. Ranging from the time of Ussher, La Peyrère, and Burnet all the way to the Hubble Space Telescope, the book provides delightful glimpses of a variety of eccentric characters devoted to the development of a scientific chronology.

The Emergence of Life on Earth: A Historical and Scientific Overview

by Iris Fry
New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2000. 344 pages.

Fry, a historian and philosopher of science, offers a unique scholarly perspective on the scientific issues involved in research on the origins of life. In addition to summarizing the history, all the way from Aristotle through Darwin and Pasteur to Oparin, Haldane, and Miller, she examines the contemporary issues and debates within the origin-of-life scientific research community.

Origin of Life

by A. I. Oparin
New York: Dover Publications, 2003. 304 pages.

Inspired by Darwin and Mendeleev, Aleksandr Ivanovich Oparin (1894–1980) was one of the first scientists to propose that the origin of life on earth was preceded by a period of nonbiological molecular evolution.

The Neandertal Enigma: Solving the Mystery of Modern Human Origins

by James Shreeve
New York: Avon Books, 1996. 369 pages.

Weaving together interviews with scientists, compelling descriptions of fossils and fossil sites, and a survey of the literature, James Shreeve offers a thought-provoking explanation of what caused the disappearance of humanity's closest relatives and the implications for what it means to be human.

Darwinism Comes to America

by Ronald L. Numbers
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998. 224 pages.

In 6 fascinating essays, distinguished historian of science Ronald L Numbers explores the reception of Darwinism in the US. Eugenie C Scott, executive director of NCSE, writes, "Numbers's carefully researched study helps us understand the origin of the wide-ranging attitudes toward creation and evolution found among conservative Christians today. Darwinism Comes to America is a worthy successor to The Creationists."

Charles Darwin: A New Life

by John Bowlby
New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1992. 511 pages.

A highly regarded biography described by Frank Sulloway as "perhaps an ideal introduction to Darwin's life and work for the nonspecialist". A psychologist by trade and the author of Attachment and Loss, Bowlby is particularly interested in Darwin's invalidism; he suggests that Darwin "developed a vulnerable personality as the result of a childhood shadowed by an invalid and dying mother and an unpredictable and often intimidating father, and that his symptoms can be understood as responses to stressful events and situations."

The Non-Darwinian Revolution: Reinterpreting a Historical Myth

by Peter J. Bowler
Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992. 252 pages.

"Historians of biology," Bowler writes, "have ... tended to discuss the history of evolutionism as though it were essentially the history of Darwinism." But Darwinian theory, based on natural selection, was not the only mechanism offered during the 19th century to explain evolution. Bowler's readable but scholarly account takes the reader through the panoply of the evolutionary (but nonselectionist) ideas of such figures as Owen, Spencer, Kelvin, Huxley, Haeckel, and Freud.

The Scopes Trial: A Photographic History

by Edward Caudill, Edward Larson, and Jesse Fox Mayshark
Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press, 2000. 88 pages.

At last, the opportunity to see the persons and places of the greatest trial of the century! The backdrop and the repercussions of the Scopes trial are ably discussed by Edward Caudill and Jesse Fox Mayshark, respectively, but the heart of the book is its wealth of documentary photographs, annotated by Edward Larson, the author of the definitive history of the Scopes trial, Summer for the Gods.


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