UCLA is proud to present a public conference on Alfred Russel Wallace as part of the Alfred Russel Wallace Centenary Celebration (WCC) commemorating the 100th anniversary of his death. The WCC is a suite of nine projects that aim to raise awareness of Wallace's monumental scientific contributions among contemporary audiences. The inaugural event was a major public conference and program at the American Museum of Natural History in New York on November 7, 2013, featuring a keynote address delivered by Sir David Attenborough to an overflow audience. Future plans include exhibits, lectures and publications that will foster an enduring engagement with Wallace's ideas. Specifically, the WCC will organize two public conferences; internet global dialogues; publication of a book that anthologizes the public talks; two special Wallace-themed periodical issues of Skeptic and Natural History magazines; the Wallace Correspondence project at the London Museum of Natural History; an upgrade for the main website on Wallace in the U.S.; and enhancements to a traveling photo exhibition in England and Wales. The John Templeton Foundation has underwritten the WCC's efforts, which take place in two countries - England and the United States - and runs for two and a half years.
The UCLA Conference has been produced and directed by Dr. Feelie Lee and the WCC planning team,* and sponsored by the UCLA Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. It is aimed at the general public as well as students and scholars whose knowledge and understanding of evolution have been based largely on Darwin. The day-long event features pre-eminent speakers and intellectual luminaries, many of whom have received notable recognition, including the Pulitzer Prize, MacArthur Award, National Medal of Science, Cosmos, Templeton and Turner Prizes. Additionally, these speakers are known as public intellectuals, and many have considerable media exposure in radio, television and public forums. The WCC is organized like a TED Conference (but without the $6,000 entry fee), bringing together giants in their respective fields into one room. This will be dynamic and rich intellectual fare for all.
*Planning Team: Drs. Alan D. Grinnell, Patty Gowaty, Michael Shermer, and Richard Milner
Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913), a British naturalist along with Charles Darwin, was the co-discoverer of evolution by natural selection, but remained forever in Darwin's shadow. Although often seen as the "lesser light reflecting a greater glory," Wallace, by the time of his death at 90, was arguably the world's most famous scientist, hailed as England's greatest naturalist and the "dean of the world's scientists." He contributed richly to our understanding of the mechanisms of evolution, the development of biogeography (the study of how plants and animals are distributed), the impact of behavior on evolution, humanity's place in nature, the rise of societies, and the quest for meaning and purpose in human life. Both a 'naturalistic' scientist and a strong believer in progressively 'guided' human evolution, Wallace was a dissenter from the mainstream materialism of Victorian culture, a scientist and a spiritualist, but not a founder of contemporary Intelligent Design as others would wish.
While certainly known to those interested in science, Wallace is virtually unknown to the public at large. His relative anonymity is a modern phenomenon even though he is enjoying a minor renaissance today with at least eleven Wallace biographies published since 2002. Although he and Charles Darwin independently arrived at the theory of evolution by natural selection, Wallace was largely eclipsed by Darwin, playing the moon to Darwin's sun and reduced to a historical footnote to the celebrated Darwin. (Google offers some nineteen million hits for Darwin while Wallace has seven hundred thousand to date.) All agree that Wallace played the goad to Darwin, spurring him on to publish The Origin of Species, a summary of the ideas he had been sitting on for twenty years unbeknownst to all except his closest friends.
A polymath in many ways, Wallace contributed to subjects as diverse as glaciology, land reform, anthropology, ethnography, epidemiology, and astrobiology. He was also deeply committed to and an active supporter of spiritualism, socialism, and the rights of the ordinary person. Considered a "radical round peg among the neat square holes" of the rising scientific professions in Victorian England, Wallace never quite fitted in, never specialized, never unlearned. He paid the price for his independence, as he had to work tirelessly for a living. His unwavering belief in spiritualism and his social convictions on women's right to vote/ land conservation and his interest in phrenology, mesmerism and socialism pitted the scientific establishment against him even as he won numerous awards for his scientific discoveries. He was probably the only scientist who could intellectually evaluate evolution and its mechanism with Darwin on equal terms.
Wallace remains one of the 20th century's great talents: an innovator within the world of basic science; an inspiration to travelers and field biologists; a vivid writer; a naturalist who collected thousands of specimens of insects, birds and mammals, many of them species new to science; a self-taught anthropologist; a model for humane understanding of underprivileged and otherwise marginalized peoples; and an independent and original thinker unafraid to run against the current thinking of the times.
November 15, 2014 Schoenberg Hall 9 am - 4:30 pm
A British evolutionary biologist and historian of science with a particular interest in Alfred Russel Wallace, Berry was a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows and currently is a lecturer in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard. His research combines field and laboratory methods to detect positive Darwinian selection (i.e. adaptive evolution) at the molecular level in natural populations. Berry has traveled the globe studying the origin of species - from fruit flies, giant rats, butterflies and ants, bats, and aphids to wrens and mice in every conceivable corner of the world. He is also a research associate at the Museum of Comparative Zoology and teaches overseas in between his duties at Harvard. He has published two books: Infinite tropics: an Alfred Russel Wallace Anthology (2003) and DNA: The Secret of Life with James D. Watson (2003).
Wade Davis holds degrees in anthropology and biology and received his Ph.D. in ethnobotany, all from Harvard University. He is the author of 18 books, including the best sellers The Serpent and the Rainbow(1986), One River (1996), The Wayfinders (2009) and Into the Silence (2011). His many film credits include "Light at the Edge of the World," an eight-hour documentary series for the National Geographic Channel. Davis is the recipient of ten honorary degrees as well as the 2009 Gold Medal from the Royal Canadian Geographical Society for his contributions to anthropology and conservation, the 2011 Explorers Medal, the highest award of the Explorers Club, the 2012 David Fairchild Medal for botanical exploration, and the 2013 Ness Medal for geography education from the Royal Geographical Society. His book Into the Silence was awarded the 2012 Samuel Johnson Prize, the top prize for literary nonfiction in the English language. Davis currently holds the LEEF Chair in Cultures and Ecosystems at Risk at the University of British Columbia, where he is a professor of anthropology attached to the Museum of Anthropology and the Liu Institute for Global Issues. Between 1999 and 2013 he served as Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society, and is currently a member of the NG Explorer's Council.
Soraya de Chadarevian comes from the University of Cambridge, England. She has a joint appointment in the Department of History and the new Institute for Society and Genetics. She is interested in the material practices of the biomedical sciences and the place of these sciences in the broader culture as well as in historiographical issues.Her main area of interest concerns the history of the biomedical sciences from the nineteenth century to the present, with special interest for the period after World War II. She has a background in biology (degrees from the University of Bologna, Italy and the University of Freiburg, Germany) and philosophy (PhD, University of Konstanz) as well as in the history of science and, among others, has held fellowships at the Walther Rathenau Program and the Max Planck Institute for History of Science in Berlin; at La Villette in Paris; at the Hamburg Institute for Social Research and at Churchill College Cambridge.
Frans B. M. de Waal is a Dutch/American behavioral biologist known for his work on the social intelligence of primates. His first book, Chimpanzee Politics (1982) compared the schmoozing and scheming of chimpanzees involved in power struggles with that of human politicians. Ever since, de Waal has drawn parallels between primate and human behavior, from peacemaking and morality to culture. His latest book is The Bonobo and the Atheist (March 2013, Norton). De Waal is C. H. Candler Professor in the Psychology Department of Emory University and Director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a member of the (US) National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences. In 2013 de Waal became a Distinguished Professor at Utrecht University while retaining his Emory position. In 2007, he was selected by Time as one of The Worlds' 100 Most Influential People Today, and in 2011 by Discover as 47 [all time] Great Minds of Science.
Jared Diamond is a Pulitzer-prize-winning author of five best-selling books, translated into 38 languages, about human societies and human evolution: Guns, Germs, and Steel, Collapse, Why Is Sex Fun?, The Third Chimpanzee, and The World until Yesterday. As a professor of Geography at UCLA, he is known for his breadth of interests, conducting research and teaching in three other fields: the biology of New Guinea birds, digestive physiology, and conservation biology. His prizes and honors include the U.S. National Medal of Science, the Pulitzer Prize for Non-fiction, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Science, and election to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. He is a director of World Wildlife Fund/U.S. and of Conservation International. Diamond's field experience includes 22 expeditions to New Guinea and neighboring islands to study ecology and evolution of birds; the rediscovery of New Guinea's long-lost golden fronted bowerbird in the remote Foja Mountains; and other field projects in North and South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia.
Tim Laman is a wildlife photographer and field biologist. Doing pioneering research in the rain forest of Borneo, Laman made more than 500 climbs of giant trees to explore the canopy and study strangler fig trees and their associated wildlife. This work led to his Ph.D. in biology from Harvard, as well as his first National Geographic magazine article in April 1997. Since then, he has pursued his passion for exploring wild places and documenting little known and endangered wildlife by becoming a regular contributor to National Geographic. He has also published more than a dozen scientific articles related to rain forest ecology and bird life and is a research associate in the ornithology department at Harvard University. Laman also maintains a fascination with coral reefs and has completed several underwater assignments. His story on mangroves bridged the underwater and forest worlds to bring attention to the threats facing this critically important habitat.
Ed Larson is a historian of science and scientific exploration as well as a legal scholar currently teaching at Pepperdine University. He is author or co-author of seventeen books, including An Empire of Ice: Scott, Shackleton and the Heroic Age of Antarctic Science; Evolution's Workshop: God and Science in the Galapagos Islands, Evolution: The Remarkable History of a Scientific Theory; and the Pulitzer Prize winning Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion. His articles have appeared in Nature, Atlantic Monthly, Time, Scientific American, and American History. A popular public lecturer, Larson has taught at the University of Georgia, Pepperdine University, and Stanford Law School. He has appeared on the History Channel, PBS's Nova and American Experience, C-SPAN, BBC, and The Daily Show. His course on the history of evolution theory is available from The Teaching Company. He has traveled extensively and led educational tours to the Galapagos, Amazon, and Antarctica.
Barbara Natterson-Horowitz is a cardiologist whose patients include gorillas, lions, wallabies, and humans. Her medical rounds sometimes take place at the Los Angeles Zoo, or might include veterinarians in a discussion of human health at the UCLA Medical Center, but always channel the perspective of Charles Darwin. A professor in UCLA's Division of Cardiology and in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, her medical specialty is cardiac imaging but her academic passion is the evolutionary connection between human and animal bodies and minds. In 2012, she co-authored the book, Zoobiquity: The Astonishing Connection Between Human and Animal Health, advocating a “One Health” approach to medicine. She founded the Zoobiquity Conferences to bring veterinarians and physicians together for "species-spanning" debates and collaborations.
Edwin Scholes is an explorer, author and scientist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, New York. Since 1999 Ed has used audiovisual media to document and study the birds-of-paradise and is a leading authority on their behavior and evolution. Along with Tim Laman, Ed began an unprecedented quest to find and document all 39 species of the birds-of-paradise. The result is Birds of Paradise – Revealing the World's Most Extraordinary Birds, (2012) the research for which took eight years and eighteen expeditions to more than 50 remote locations throughout the Australasian region. A Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Scholes lives with his wife Kim, also an ornithologist and evolutionary biologist and their two children.
Michael Shermer is the founding publisher of Skeptic magazine and editor of Skeptic.com, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and an Adjunct Professor at Claremont Graduate University. He is the author of Why People Believe Weird Things, The Believing Brain, and In Darwin's Shadow: The Life and Science of Alfred Russel Wallace (2002) based on his dissertation. He has eight other books on the evolution of human beliefs and behavior including The Moral Arc which will be released in 2015. Shermer has appeared on such shows as The Colbert Report, 20/20, Dateline, Charlie Rose, Oprah, Leeza, Unsolved Mysteries, and Larry King Live. He has also done interviews in countless documentaries aired on PBS, A&E, Discovery, The History Channel, The Science Channel, and The Learning Channel.
Dr. Feelie Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org or (310) 310-9779
Dr. Dan Blumstein at email@example.com or (310) 267-4746
Dr. Alan Grinnell at firstname.lastname@example.org or (310) 963-7052
Dr. Patty Gowaty at email@example.com or (310)455-6832