Wallace Should Hang

Olivia Judson in the New York Times:

Mw06552This week, I want to look at a figure in the history of biology: Alfred Russel Wallace. January 8th was his birthday. And 2008 is the 150th anniversary of one of the most important events in the history of biology. In 1858, Wallace wrote to Charles Darwin from the Moluccan Islands, in what is now Indonesia, where he was collecting birds, beetles, butterflies and anything else he could catch. The letter contained a manuscript in which Wallace outlined the idea of evolution by natural selection.

To celebrate this event and what it led to — of which, more in a moment — I decided to visit Wallace’s portrait in London’s National Portrait Gallery, a Who was Who in paintings, photographs, statues and busts. I hurried past an anemic young prince in doublet and hose, and shot through the large gallery of Empire where Queen Victoria is presenting a Bible to a kneeling (and anonymous) African, to arrive in the smaller gallery of Victorian science and technology

More here.