The John Adams Institute hosted an evening with Stephen Jay Gould, professor of zoology and geology at Harvard University. An outstanding and outspoken paleontologist and evolutionary biologist, Gould succeeded in bridging the gap between science and literature. The long list of Gould’s best-sellers includes The Panda’s Thumb, Wonderful Life, and Bully for Brontosaurus. In his book Full House, Gould brilliantly corrects the misconception that evolution equals progress. In the Netherlands, Gould is best known for his inspiring participation in VPRO television debates “Een schitterend ongeluk”. Making complex theories accessible to a lay public without simplification or trivialization is the secret of Gould’s success. Together with Niles Eldredge, he developed the punctuated equilibrium theory which basically argues that evolution is not a gradual process but a random chain of incidents. With his books and his monthly column in Natural History, Gould contributed to prod both the scientific and lay reader to question the seemingly obvious.
Stephen Jay Gould died from cancer in 2002 at the age of 60. Read his obituary from The Economist here.
Moderator: Maarten Frankenhuis
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