- Gould, Stephen Jay
born Sept. 10, 1941, New York, N.Y., U.S.died May 20, 2002, New York, N.Y.U.S. paleontologist and evolutionary biologist.He received a Ph.D. in paleontology from Columbia University and joined the faculty of Harvard University in 1967. With Niles Eldredge (b. 1943), he developed the controversial theory of punctuated equilibrium (1972), a revision of Darwinism that proposed that the evolutionary creation of new species occurs in rapid bursts over periods as short as thousands of years, which are followed by long periods of stability. He was widely known as a popularizing writer on biological and evolutionary topics, especially in Natural History magazine; his numerous books include The Panda's Thumb (1980), The Mismeasure of Man (1981), and The Structure of Evolutionary Theory (2002).
* * *▪ 2003American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and writer (b. Sept. 10, 1941, New York, N.Y.—d. May 20, 2002, New York, N.Y.), was the author of over a dozen books in addition to 300 consecutive monthly “This View of Life” essays in Natural History magazine (1974–2001), in which he made scientific discussion accessible and entertaining to the common reader without diluting its content. He was best known for a theory of evolution he and his colleague Niles Eldredge developed in 1972, known as punctuated equilibrium, that contradicted conventional thinking on the subject. Whereas in the theories of Charles Darwin evolution was a slow, steady process, Gould and Eldredge proposed that change came to species relatively rapidly between long periods of constancy. Gould earned a bachelor's degree in geology at Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio, in 1963 and a doctorate in paleontology at Columbia University, New York City, in 1967. In the latter year he joined the faculty of Harvard University, where he would spend the rest of his career. He became a full professor in 1973. Among Gould's diverse works were an exploration of the relationship between evolution and the development of individual organisms, Ontogeny and Phylogeny (1977); a discussion of intelligence testing and a refutation of claims for the intellectual superiority of some races, The Mismeasure of Man (1981), which won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1982; and what was considered his magnum opus, the 1,433-page summary of his life's work, The Structure of Evolutionary Theory (2002). His volumes of collected Natural History essays included Ever Since Darwin (1977), The Panda's Thumb (1980), for which he received the National Book Award in 1981, Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes (1983), and I Have Landed: The End of a Beginning in Natural History (2002), which was published the day after his death. Gould was the recipient of numerous honours: he received a MacArthur fellowship in 1981, the first year that grant was awarded; he became a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1983 and the National Academy of Sciences in 1989; and he served as president of such organizations as the Paleontological Society (1985–86), the Society for the Study of Evolution (1990–91), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1999–2000).
* * *▪ American paleontologistborn September 10, 1941, New York, New York, U.S.died May 20, 2002, New YorkAmerican paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and science writer.Gould graduated from Antioch College in 1963 and received a Ph.D. in paleontology at Columbia University in 1967. He joined the faculty of Harvard University in 1967, becoming a full professor there in 1973. Gould's own technical research focused on the evolution and speciation of West Indian land snails. With Niles Eldredge, he developed in 1972 the theory of punctuated equilibrium, a revision of Darwinian theory proposing that the creation of new species through evolutionary change occurs not at slow, constant rates over millions of years but rather in rapid bursts over periods as short as thousands of years, which are then followed by long periods of stability during which organisms undergo little further change. Gould's theory, as well as much of his later work, often drew criticism from other scientists.Apart from his technical research, Gould became widely known as a writer, polemicist, and popularizer of evolutionary theory. In his books Ontogeny and Phylogeny (1977), The Mismeasure of Man (1981), Time's Arrow, Time's Cycle (1987), and Wonderful Life (1989), he traced the course and significance of various controversies in the history of evolutionary biology, intelligence testing, geology, and paleontology. From 1974 Gould regularly contributed essays to the periodical Natural History, and these were collected in several volumes, including Ever Since Darwin (1977), The Panda's Thumb (1980), and Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes (1983). His science writing is characterized by a graceful literary style and the ability to treat complex concepts with absolute clarity.
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