EXHIBITS: Bytes of Biology History

Science  10 May 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5570, pp. 987
DOI: 10.1126/science.296.5570.987b

Named for a defunct genus of mammals, Lefalophodon* introduces the early scientists who inspired, shaped, defended, and nurtured evolutionary biology. This who's who by paleobiologist John Alroy of the University of California (UC), Santa Barbara, profiles more than 50 thinkers who worked between 1800 and 1950. Subjects of the brief biographies range from Erasmus Darwin, Charles's polymath grandfather who expressed his speculations on evolution in verse; to the American fossil expert George Gaylord Simpson, who helped forge the “Modern Synthesis” that united genetics, paleontology, and systematics.

Delve into more recent events—the early years of the AIDS epidemic and the growth of the biotechnology industry—through the words of protagonists. The interview texts available at this site from UC Berkeley date from 1990 to 1997, and others are in the works. The transcripts include the discussions of two San Francisco public health experts on the emergence of AIDS and those of seven scientists on the birth, safety, and commercialization of biotech—including Herbert Boyer, who with colleague Stanley Cohen was the first to slip a gene from one organism into another.

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