Roots of Ecology

September 30, 2012 • 6:21 pm

by Greg Mayer

My friend and colleague Frank Egerton, Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, is the author of a new book, Roots of Ecology: Antiquity to Haeckel, published last month by the University of California Press.  With two sections on Darwin, and two others featuring Alfred Russel Wallace, the book will be of great interest to evolutionists as well as ecologists. Frank is an award winning historian of science, perhaps our greatest student of the history of ecology, and very appreciative of the intertwining of ecology and evolutionary biology. WEIT readers may recall when we announced his talk on “Ecological Aspects of Darwin’s Voyage on the Beagle“ during the Darwin bicentennial. Frank is also the author of  A History of the Ecological Sciences, appearing serially in the Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America, which formed part of the basis for the book. At Frank’s website, there are additional illustrations and maps to accompany the book.

I think that one reason Frank’s work is especially appreciated by scientists is that he has a clear understanding of the science involved, and this informs his historical interests and analysis. As he wrote in a book review in 1976:

[T]he history of error is uninteresting unless some interesting lessons can be learned from it.

The well-equipped Victorian naturalist: Nikolai Miklucho-Maklai and Ernst Haeckel.

Frank Egerton on Darwin and the Beagle

March 11, 2009 • 8:24 pm

by Greg Mayer

If you’re going to be in or near southeastern Wisconsin this Friday, March 13, the next presentation in “Darwin 1809-1859-2009”, the University of Wisconsin–Parkside’s series of events commemorating the bicentennial of Charles Darwin’s birth and the sesquicentennial of the publication On the Origin of Species, is being held at noon in Greenquist Hall 101.  My friend and colleague Frank Egerton will speak on “Ecological Aspects of Darwin’s Voyage on the Beagle“. Darwin’s five-year circumnavigation of the globe as a naturalist aboard the Royal Navy surveying vessel HMS Beagle was the formative event of his life, and greatly influenced all his subsequent work and views. Frank is an award winning historian of science, Professor Emeritus of History at UW–Parkside, and author of a biography of Hewett Cottrell Watson, one of Darwin’s key colleagues and correspondents, and of A History of the Ecological Sciences, appearing serially in the Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America.

The event is free and open to the public. Directions to the University are here.