Stephen Jay Gould

Easton Press Stephen Jay Gould books

Bully For Brontosaurus - signed first edition - 1991
The Lying Stones of Marrakech - signed first edition - 2000


Stephen Jay Gould biography

Stephen Jay Gould, born on September 10, 1941, in New York City, was a highly influential paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and science writer. He became one of the most prominent and beloved figures in the field of evolutionary biology during the latter half of the 20th century. Gould's distinctive contributions to science, combined with his engaging writing style, made complex scientific concepts accessible to a broad audience. Raised in a Jewish family, Gould developed an early interest in science, particularly paleontology. He earned his bachelor's degree in geology from Antioch College in 1963 and went on to complete his Ph.D. in paleontology at Columbia University in 1967. Gould's doctoral research focused on the evolution of land snails in the West Indies, setting the stage for his later work on evolutionary theory.

Throughout his career, Gould was associated with Harvard University, where he joined the faculty in 1967 and remained until his untimely death. His research primarily centered on the evolution of land snails, but he is perhaps best known for his work in the field of evolutionary theory, especially his contributions to the theory of punctuated equilibrium. Gould, along with his colleague Niles Eldredge, proposed the theory of punctuated equilibrium in 1972, suggesting that the fossil record demonstrates long periods of stasis (little or no change) interrupted by relatively brief periods of rapid evolutionary change. This concept challenged traditional views of gradualism in evolutionary processes.

In addition to his scientific endeavors, Gould was a prolific writer and essayist. His essays, which often appeared in the popular science magazine "Natural History," covered a wide range of topics, from paleontology and evolution to the history and philosophy of science. Gould's ability to communicate complex ideas with clarity and wit endeared him to both scientific and lay audiences. Some of Gould's notable books include Ontogeny and Phylogeny (1977), The Panda's Thumb (1980), and Wonderful Life (1989). The latter explores the Burgess Shale fossils and the diversity of life during the Cambrian explosion.

Tragically, Stephen Jay Gould passed away on May 20, 2002, at the age of 60, after a long battle with cancer. Despite his premature death, Gould's legacy endures through his influential contributions to evolutionary biology, his engaging writings, and his efforts to bridge the gap between the scientific community and the general public.


Bully for Brontosaurus - Reflections in Natural History

A collection of thirty-five essays representing the best of the column This View of Life from Natural History magazine focuses on the themes of evolution and of the innumerable oddities of nature.

This text is a metaphor for the way individuals and unpredictable events influence history. In response history, suggests the author, is the best model for evolution. The author explores the science of improbable outcomes in this wide ranging book written on the evolutionary theme.

The spectrum of topics covered by Gould is very varied, but revolves around the central theme of the theory of evolution and natural history. Evolutionism allows us to identify the workings of evolution even in very untraditional topics, such as the evolution of the typewriter keyboard, and in the oddities and "errors" of nature, such as the existence of nipples in the male human being (and mammals in general) or the gigantic kiwi egg, considered instructive phenomena precisely because they explain the functioning and historical character of evolutionary mechanisms better than natural "perfection". Reading Bravo Brontosaurus is one of the most serious and at the same time least conventional and funniest ways to dismantle errors and clich├ęs, preconceptions and conformisms that falsify history and distort the understanding of the theory of evolution. It is a high-level work of scientific dissemination which allows the results of science to be brought to the attention of a vast public of readers and which, thanks to curiosities, discoveries, surprising comparisons, autobiographical references, rare historical information, quotations, humour, succeeds to arouse in the reader the rare pleasure of intelligence.

"Provocative and delightfully discursive essays on natural history. . . . Gould is the Stan Musial of essay writing. He can work himself into a corkscrew of ideas and improbable allusions paragraph after paragraph and then, uncoiling, hit it with such power that his fans know they are experiencing the game of essay writing at its best." - John Noble Wilford, New York Times Book Review

Stephen Jay Gould is world class. He sets the standard. When it comes to popular scientific essays, he leads the (small) pack.
This collection of 35 pieces, all first appeared in Natural History magazine. It includes essays on language, the role of chance in history, the evolution of life and the human family tree. And Gould treats us to his favorite, "In a Jumbled Drawer," where he examines racism in 19th century science.

"Gould combines information with charm and humor," - Atlantic

"extols advances in science like the space probe Voyager." - Kirkus Reviews

The Lying Stones of Marrakech - Penultimate Reflections in Natural History

In his latest collection of essays, bestselling scientist Stephen Jay Gould once again offers his unmistakable perspective on natural history and the people who have tried to make sense of it. Gould is planning to bring down the curtain on his nearly thirty-year stint as a monthly essayist for Natural History magazine, the longest-running series of scientific essays in history. This, then, is the next-to-last essay collection from one of the most acclaimed and widely read scientists of our time. In this work of twenty-three essays, selected by Booklist as one of the top ten science and technology books of 2000, Gould covers topics as diverse as episodes in the birth of paleontology to lessons from Britain’s four greatest Victorian naturalists. The Lying Stones of Marrakech presents the richness and fascination of the various lives that have fuelled the enterprise of science and opened our eyes to a world of unexpected wonders.

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