London, United Kingdom, February 12, 2012 --(PR.com
)-- It’s widely thought that no other individual has influenced our knowledge of life on Earth as much as English naturalist Charles Robert Darwin (12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882). While his theory of evolution by natural selection has been modified over time, it is still accepted by the scientific community as the best, evidence-based explanation for how we came to exist.
An acknowledged expert in the work of Darwin was Ernst Mayr (1904 – 2005), the late German-American biologist who has been credited with inventing the modern philosophy of biology, particularly in the field of evolutionary biology. Over the course of his lifetime, Mayr received every award possible for a scientist in his field. To preserve memories of his remarkable career, he agreed to record and share compelling tales of his life and work, none of which would be complete without referencing the work of Darwin.
Among other subjects, viewers can watch Mayr reflecting on his desire to publish a facsimile of On the Origin of the Species, claiming that Darwin was overlooked as a philosopher: "I felt that the Origin of Species, particularly the first edition, was… neglected and the reprints didn't keep the same paging so you couldn't refer to Darwin's original statements. So I persuaded Harvard University Press in 1964 to publish a facsimile edition of the first edition… Well, it has been selling ever since."
Mayr also talks of his decision to write a book that he felt was vital to tell the complete story on Darwin: "If you go to the big biographies… they tell you every last detail about his life… but do you find a decent discussion of his theories? No, you won't because these people are historians… they are not qualified to discuss Darwin's theories in detail. So this rather small book of mine, One Long Argument, was the first really detailed treatment of Darwin's theory in the last, I don't know what, 50 years or more. And it is very important to distinguish these theories."
Web of Stories also has clips of John Maynard Smith, the late British biologist, and Francis Crick, the late British scientist, discussing Darwin. All the stories are available with a fully searchable transcript, and range in length from two minutes to more than eight.
The videos of Mayr, and others, are easy to share with friends and colleagues, and are free for embedding into personal blogs and websites.