Overshadowed by Darwin, Alfred Russel Wallace Was the Most Admirable Man in Science History
tags: Science,evolution,Alfred Russel Wallace,Darwin
Although Alfred Russel Wallace should be as famous as Charles Darwin for discovering that species evolve – Wallace was evolved enough to delight in Darwin’s glory, not stew in Darwinian jealousy.
Thomas Edison’s one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration genius formula got it half right; it’s also 150 percent marketing. Although we imagine lone inventors shouting “Eureka,” most discoveries are three-dimensional, involving colleagues, predecessors—and competitors. Edison should be known as one inventor of the light bulb, along with Joseph Swan, Henry Woodward, Matthew Evans, William Sawyer and Albon Man. In a less pr-centered world, we would think of Elisha Gray and Antonio Meucci, with Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone, Karl Benz with Henry Ford’s motor car, and Alfred Russel Wallace with Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.
Wallace’s obscurity is so striking because his input was so important yet Darwin’s name is now so dominant. The light bulb isn’t the Edisunlight, the phone is not the Bellaphone and the car is a car, with Ford, Mercedes-Benz and other brands. But the theory is Darwin’s, the school of thought Darwinism, the mode of competition Darwinian...
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