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LSS: Darwin Day Lecture: George Beccaloni - Wallace and Natural Selection

Description: Join us for our annual lecture commemorating the life and work of Charles Darwin.

Alfred Russel Wallace and Natural Selection: the Real Story

with George Beccaloni, Director of the A. R. Wallace Correspondence Project, London, UK.

You are welcome to participate for free, but will need the joining information in our weekly email. Sign up at http://leicestersecularsociety.org.uk/register/?p=subscribe&id=1
Or email contact@Lsec.org.uk for login details.
Flyer (pdf): http://leicestersecularsociety.org.uk/docs/2021_Wallace.pdf

Alfred Russel Wallace (1823 - 1913), one of the greatest scientists of all time. His seminal contributions to biology rival those of his friend and colleague Charles Darwin, though he is far less well known. Together Wallace and Darwin proposed the theory of evolution by natural selection in 1858, and their prolific subsequent work laid the foundations of modern evolutionary biology - and much more besides.

However, Wallace's extraordinary quest to understand how evolution works is not very well known. Many seem to think that he discovered natural selection by chance, but this is very far from the truth.

This talk charts the development of Wallace's ideas about evolution, from his early life in Neath in Wales where he first became interested in the subject, through his four year expedition to the Amazon (which ended with the destruction of his irreplaceable specimens and notes), to his epic eight year journey around the Malay Archipelago where he finally discovered the process which drives the evolution of life on planet Earth.

Dr George Beccaloni is a zoologist, evolutionary biologist, taxonomist, museum curator and science historian, who worked at London’s Natural History Museum (NHM) as an entomologist for more than 20 years.

George set up the Wallace Memorial Fund in 1999, and is the founder and Director of the Wallace Correspondence Project.

In 2002 George played a key role in helping the NHM acquire the world’s largest collection of Wallace-related manuscripts from Wallace’s descendants.

George has published a number of articles about Wallace and co-edited the book Natural Selection and Beyond: The Intellectual Legacy of Alfred Russel Wallace with Charles Smith.

He was the Historical Consultant for Bill Bailey's Jungle Hero, an award winning two-part BBC series about Wallace. In the past

George has worked on the evolution of mimicry, macroecological patterns in butterfly-hostplant relationships, and novel methods to quantify the diet breadths of phytophagous insects. He created the online databases Wallace Letters Online, the Cockroach Species File, and the Global Lepidoptera Names Index (LepIndex), and has published six books and many scientific and popular articles.

ARW had a Leicester connection – during 1844-5 he taught at the Collegiate School and during that time met Henry Walter Bates. There is a plaque commemorating them at the New Walk museum.

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Some previous Darwin Day lectures at Secular Hall:

2015: David Nutt - Drug and alcohol policy -
2016: Riadh Abed - Darwinian Theory: Medicine's Neglected Basic Science
2017: Susanne Shultz - Co-operation is Darwinian
2018: Paul Gilbert: Compassion Focused Therapy
2019: Sophie Scott: The Story of Laughter
2020: Professor Mark Jobling - Who do we think we were? DNA and ancestry testing.



Location: Online via Zoom
Date: Sunday, 14 February 2021
Time: 18:30 GMT
Access: Public
Category: LSS - Public event (not at Secular Hall)*
Created by: Public Access ( by LSS editor )
Updated: Friday, 12 February 2021 17:05 GMT
Attachments: None

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