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Convincing Lyell: Darwin, Wallace, and the Great Transmutation Debate

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Darwin Lecture Theatre (Darwin Building B40 LT)

University College London

Gower St., Bloomsbury

London

WC1E 6XA

United Kingdom

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Charles Lyell's Principles of Geology, published in Britain in three volumes between 1830 and 1833, helped launch modern geology as a hot and up-and-coming new science. Inspiring a new generation of geologists, its revolutionary effects on the study and understanding of earth processes and history are still being felt today. Yet the Principles had the opposite effect on the equally revolutionary idea of species change. Then-current ideas about transmutation, as evolution was termed, were thoroughly rejected by Lyell. For most naturalists of the day, Lyell's treatment was definitive, reinforcing the widely held opinion that the notion of species change was poor science at best and heretical at worst. Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace, working independently, disagreed profoundly with Lyell, and each worked in his own way to convince the great naturalist that he was wrong. In this talk I trace Darwin's and Wallace's separate strategies for engaging with Lyell, and show how these put them on a collision course with one another when, attempting to reach Lyell, Wallace sent his fateful correspondence to Darwin.

The speaker will be Darwin and Wallace scholar Dr Jim Costa (Executive Director, Highlands Biological Station, Highlands, NC, USA and Professor of Biology, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC, USA).

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A detailed map of how to get to the Darwin Lecture Theatre can be seen here: https://tinyurl.com/y988qa99

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Email blaberus1@ntlworld.com

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Date and Time

Location

Darwin Lecture Theatre (Darwin Building B40 LT)

University College London

Gower St., Bloomsbury

London

WC1E 6XA

United Kingdom

View Map

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