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Travelling in Australia


Celebrating the 100th anniversary of On the Origin of Species
Ernst Mayr Scientist
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In 1959 biology celebrated the 100th anniversary of the publication of The Origin of Species, and also the 150th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin. On that occasion a number of celebrations were organised, the most elaborate one was in Chicago and a series of three volumes issued from the symposia and lectures and whatnot that took place on that occasion. Julian Huxley gave a… a famous speech that caused some eyebrow-raising and everybody who was anybody in evolutional biology attended. I attended it, too, on the way to Australia where in Melbourne I had to give a lecture celebrating the 100th anniversary of The Origin of Species and simultaneously, by coincidence, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Royal Society of Victoria.

The late German-American biologist Ernst Mayr (1904-2005) was a leading light in the field of evolutionary biology, gaining a PhD at the age of 21. He was also a tropical explorer and ornithologist who undertook an expedition to New Guinea and collected several thousand bird skins. In 1931 he accepted a curatorial position at the American Museum of Natural History. During his time at the museum, aged 37, he published his seminal work 'Systematics and Origin of the Species' which integrated the theories of Darwin and Mendel and is considered one of his greatest works.

Listeners: Walter J. Bock

Walter J. Bock is Professor of Evolutionary Biology at Columbia University. He received his B.Sc. from Cornell and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard. His research lies in the areas of organismal and evolutionary biology, with a special emphasis on functional and evolutionary morphology of the skeleto-muscular system, specifically the feeding apparatus of birds.

Tags: 1959, The Origin of Species, Chicago, Australia, Melbourne, Victoria, Royal Society of Victoria, Charles Darwin, Julian Huxley

Duration: 1 minute, 24 seconds

Date story recorded: October 1997

Date story went live: 24 January 2008