James Secord

James Secord’s account of pre-Darwinian evolutionary debates, Victorian Sensation, is out in paperback.

Some years ago, a National Enquirer headline announced that Martians had killed off the dinosaurs while visiting Earth to do some big-game hunting. It is hard to imagine such an explanation for the extinction of the trilobites – hard-shelled creatures that looked like giant woodlice. Compared with T. rex and triceratops, they lack the trophy quality. But the episode that led to the...

Darwin was remarkably patient. Only once, on a letter from the Prague-born astronomer Anton Schobloch, who wanted to know ‘how is it possible, that there are hemaphrodits’ [sic] did he go...

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In 1802​, the young Humphry Davy introduced his first full course of chemistry lectures at the Royal Institution by addressing the fear that science was a Trojan horse for social or political...

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Published anonymously in 1844, Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation was a history of everything, from the beginning of the Universe and the solar system to the spiritual destiny of...

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The Kentish Hog

Adrian Desmond, 15 October 1987

David Kohn opens his monumental Darwinian Heritage with a deftly-delivered kick, observing that a study of the wider institutional culture of Darwin’s day seems to be ‘beyond the...

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