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Choosing Selection: The Revival of Natural Selection in Anglo-American Evolutionary Biology, 1930-1970

By: Stephen G Brush

183 pages, no illustrations

American Philosophical Society

Paperback | Mar 2009 | #187563 | ISBN-13: 9781606189931
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About this book

This monograph describes the establishment of the hypothesis that Charles Darwin's natural selection, reformulated by R. A. Fisher, J. B. S. Haldane, and S. Wright in the light of Mendelian genetics, is the primary or exclusive mechanism for biological evolution.

During the 1930s, alternatives such as Lamarchism, macromutations and orthogenesis were rejected in favor of natural selection acting on small mutations, but there was disagreement about the role of random genetic drift in evolution. By the 1950s, research persuaded leading evolutionists that natural selection was so powerful that drift was generally unimportant.

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Stephen G. Brush was employed as a theoretical physicist at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory (1959-1965), a staff member at Harvard Project Physics (1965-1968, developing a historically oriented physics course for high schools), and Lecturer in Physics and History of Science at Harvard University (1966-1968). From 1968 through 2006 he served on the faculty of the University of Maryland, University Park, with a joint appointment in the Department of History and the Institute for Physical Science & Technology. He retired in 2006 and holds the title Distinguished University Professor of the History of Science, Emeritus.

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