Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Books by Charles Darwin

 
Most people don't seem to appreciate the depth and breadth of Darwin's work. Someone posted a comment on a recent Sandwalk thread arguing that Darwin was a "one trick pony" compared to Isaac Newton. This is hard to justify when you scan the variety of scientific articles that Darwin published in his lifetime and you consider the record of his scientific correspondance—much of which has been preserved.

But setting all that aside, the list of books that he published gives us a fair impression of the range of subjects that Darwin covered. I'm not even sure that this list is complete.

This list of Darwin's books is not meant to belittle the contributions of Isaac Newton, that other contender for world's best scientist. After all, we all know that in addition to Principia, Newton also wrote numerous works on the interpretation of the Bible (e.g. Observations on Daniel and The Apocalypse of St. John (1733)) and he spent a lot of time studying alchemy. Newton predicted that the world would end in 2060 and Newton followers will no doubt become very anxious as we approach that date.

Books by Charles Darwin

  • The structure and distribution of coral reefs. Being the first part of the geology of the voyage of the Beagle, under the command of Capt. Fitzroy, R.N. during the years 1832 to 1836. (1842)

  • Geological observations on the volcanic islands visited during the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle, together with some brief notices of the geology of Australia and the Cape of Good Hope. Being the second part of the geology of the voyage of the Beagle, under the command of Capt. Fitzroy, R.N. during the years 1832 to 1836. (1844)

  • Geological observations on South America. Being the third part of the geology of the voyage of the Beagle, under the command of Capt. Fitzroy, R.N. during the years 1832 to 1836. (1846)

  • Narrative of the surveying voyages of His Majesty's Ships Adventure and Beagle between the years 1826 and 1836, describing their examination of the southern shores of South America, and the Beagle's circumnavigation of the globe. (1839)

  • A monograph of the sub-class Cirripedia, with figures of all the species. The Lepadidae; or, pedunculated cirripedes. [Vol. 1] (1851)

  • A monograph of the sub-class Cirripedia, with figures of all the species. The Balanidae, (or sessile cirripedes); the Verrucidae. [Vol. 2] (1854)

  • A monograph on the fossil Lepadidae, or, pedunculated cirripedes of Great Britain. [Vol. 1] (1851)

  • A monograph on the fossil Balanidae and Verrucidae of Great Britain. [Vol. 2] (1855)

  • On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (1st ed.) (1859), 2nd ed (1860). 3rd ed. (1861) , 4th ed. (1866), 5th ed. (1869), 6th ed. (1872)

  • On the various contrivances by which British and foreign orchids are fertilised by insects. (1862), 2nd ed. (1877)

  • The expression of the emotions in man and animals. (1872)

  • Insectivorous plants. (1875), 2nd. ed. (1888)

  • The movements and habits of climbing plants. (1875)

  • The effects of cross and self fertilisation in the vegetable kingdom. (1876), 2nd ed. (1878)

  • The variation of animals and plants under domestication. (1868), 2nd ed. (1875)

  • The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (1st ed.) (1871), 2nd ed. (1882)

  • The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. (1872)

  • The structure and distribution of coral reefs. 2d ed. (1872)

  • Geological observations on the volcanic islands and parts of South America visited during the voyage of H.M.S. 'Beagle'. 2d ed. (1876)

  • The power of movement in plants. (1880)

  • The formation of vegetable mould, through the action of worms. (1881)

  • The Autobiography of Charles Darwin 1809–1882. (unpublished until 1958)


7 comments :

  1. Yep, that settles it. One trick.

    As for Newton's achievements (or lack thereof) outside of science, they are about as relevant to this debate as Darwin's performance at the local ale drinking contest.

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  2. Larry, you are guilty of misleading quotation. I wrote that Darwin is one trick pony in comparison to Newton. This is crucial distinction!

    Newton also wrote numerous works on the interpretation of the Bible ... and he spent a lot of time studying alchemy .

    Newton's dabbling in theology and alchemy only further highlights his amazing breadth of interests and talents.

    Newton predicted that the world would end in 2060

    More precisely, he predicted that the world would end no earlier than 2060:
    http://www.isaac-newton.org/newton_2060.htm

    Lets hope he was right! although with the amount of nukes H. sapiens accumulated, the world is very likely to come to an end eventually.

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  3. Apparently, Prof. Moran is unaware of the fact that Issac Newton also wrote a book about optics.

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  4. SLC says,

    Apparently, Prof. Moran is unaware of the fact that Issac Newton also wrote a book about optics.

    I was not unaware of that.

    Newton is respected for his work in physics. He is not respected for his work on Biblical scholarship and alchemy.

    Darwin made important contributions to both biology and geology. His scientific approach carried over into all aspects of his life, including religion.

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  5. Newton is respected for his work in physics

    Help! Math is getting no respect! :-)

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  6. 1. Newton also invented the calculus (in parallel with Liebnitz) which, all by itself, is a monumental achievement.

    2. It should also be noted that Newton preceded Darwin by some 150 years. The attitude toward religion in the 17th century was quite different then in the 19th century.

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  7. One of the most remarkable things about Newton as SLC indicated is that not only did he discover laws which apply to every particle in the universe but he almost single-handedly invented the mathematical apparatus necessary to do this and many many other things- the calculus. In one of its special issues, The Economist noted that the calculus has admittedly had a greater impact on history than the rise and fall of civilizations.

    ReplyDelete