Alfred Russel Wallace

Alfred Russel Wallace

As the 100th anniversary of Wallace's death passes, James Williams explores the life and legacy of one of the world's most important Victorian scientists

The Biologist Vol 60(5) p22-25

Alfred Russel Wallace (8 January 1823 -7 November 1913) was a complex man from a humble background. Yet this son of a failed, bankrupt solicitor developed – independently of Charles Darwin – a theory so central to the science of biology that Theodosius Dobzhansky wrote an essay in 1973 entitled: Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution.

In common with Darwin, Wallace collected beetles and spent his formative years as a scientist discovering the natural history of Wales. Unlike Darwin, and despite his work on evolution, the public profile of Wallace receded almost to complete obscurity after his death...


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