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Cover for Rebels, Mavericks, and Heretics in Biology

Rebels, Mavericks, and Heretics in Biology

William Dritschilo (Contributions by), Bruce Weber (Contributions by), Vinciane Despret (Contributions by), David Sepkoski (Contributions by), Mark Borrello (Contributions by), Nathaniel Comfort (Contributions by), James F. Crow (Contributions by), Philip V. Tobias (Contributions by), Daniel Kevles (Contributions by), Raphael Falk (Contributions by), Tim Horder (Contributions by), David Hull (Contributions by), R. C. Lewontin (Contributions by), John Prebble (Contributions by), Michael Ruse (Contributions by), Jan Saap (Contributions by), Ullica Segrestrale (Contributions by), Ute Deichmann (Contributions by), Oren Harman (Editor), Michael Dietrich (Editor), Garland Allen (Contributions by)


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The stories of nineteen scientists--some famous, some forgotten--who stubbornly challenged assumptions and icons in the life sciences

This book is the first devoted to modern biology’s innovators and iconoclasts: men and women who challenged prevailing notions in their fields. Some of these scientists were Nobel Prize winners, some were considered cranks or gadflies, some were in fact wrong. The stories of these stubborn dissenters are individually fascinating. Taken together, they provide unparalleled insights into the role of dissent and controversy in science and especially the growth of biological thought over the past century.

Each of the book’s nineteen specially commissioned chapters offers a detailed portrait of the intellectual rebellion of a particular scientist working in a major area of biology--genetics, evolution, embryology, ecology, biochemistry, neurobiology, and virology as well as others. An introduction by the volume’s editors and an epilogue by R. C. Lewontin draw connections among the case studies and illuminate the nonconforming scientist’s crucial function of disturbing the comfort of those in the majority. By focusing on the dynamics and impact of dissent rather than on “winners” who are credited with scientific advances, the book presents a refreshingly original perspective on the history of the life sciences.

Scientists featured in this volume:

Alfred Russel Wallace 

Hans Driesch

Wilhelm Johannsen

Raymond Arthur Dart

C. D. Darlington

Richard Goldschmidt

Barbara McClintock

Oswald T. Avery

Roger Sperry

Leon Croizat

Vero Copner Wynne-Edwards

Peter Mitchell

Howard Temin

Motoo Kimura

William D. Hamilton

Carl Woese

Stephen Jay Gould

Thelma Rowell

Daniel S. Simberloff

Yale University Press, 9780300158458, 416pp.

Publication Date: September 1, 2009

About the Author

Oren Harman is associate professor, Graduate Program for Science, Technology and Society, Committee on Interdisciplinary Studies, Bar Ilan University, Israel. Michael R. Dietrich is professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Dartmouth College.