COINCIDENCE? DARWIN, WALLACE AND THE CO-DISCOVERY OF EVOLUTION BY NATURAL SELECTION Dr Andrew Berry, Harvard University

Evolution by natural selection is biology's central idea and arguably its most important one. 

That this disarmingly simple notion was independently discovered synchronously by both Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace suggests that our focus should be on what they had in common, the milieu - social, cultural, technological, political - in which they lived. 

This lecture will review some of the factors underlying the Darwin-Wallace breakthrough, emphasizing the implicit lesson for the history of science – that for a full understanding we need a multi-dimensional reconstruction of the world in which scientists lived and worked.

Dr Berry, educated in Shrewsbury, is a lecturer in evolutionary biology at Harvard University and has published extensively on both Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace.

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