How to pronounce Stephen Jay Gould: goold
Stephen Jay Gould was born in 1941 and became one of the best known and most popular writers on general science matters and his own specialist field of evolutionary biology.
He had his own column in Natural History magazine, for which he wrote 300 consecutive monthly pieces under the title 'This View of Life'. He also wrote 20 books, many of which were bestsellers, and approximately 1,000 scientific papers.
He taught at Harvard University from 1967 up until his death in 2002, at which time he was Professor of Geology and Curator of Inverterbrate Paleontology, Museum of Comparative Zoology.
He is famous for the concept of 'punctuated equilibrium' which he developed with paleontologist Niles Eldredge. They theorized that the reason that evolutionary change appears to happen in bursts of activity, followed by periods of little or no change, is due to dramatic environmental shifts.
Although some scientists disagree about the importance of punctuated equilibrium as an evolutionary factor (the most vocal of whom is probably Richard Dawkins), there appears to be general acceptance for the theory.
Gould is also known for popularizing the theory that the evolutionary process has no pre-determined outcome. To quote Gould "humans are not the end result of predictable evolutionary progress, but rather a fortuitous cosmic afterthought, a tiny little twig on the enormously arborescent bush of life, which if replanted from seed, would almost surely not grow this twig again."
Whilst scientists generally agree that humanity itself was not pre-ordained most argue that, in the absence of humans, another intelligent species would probably have developed to fill the same evolutionary niche.
Copyright BookBrowse.com 2004
This bio was last updated on 08/02/2010. We try to keep BookBrowse's biographies both up to date and accurate, but with many thousands of lives to keep track of it's a tough task. So, please help us - if the information about a particular author is out of date or inaccurate, and you know of a more complete source, please let us know. Authors: If you wish to make changes to your bio, send your complete biography as you would like it displayed so that we can replace the old with the new.
Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!
Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you'd rather have been talking
Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!
Solve this clue:
and be entered to win..
Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.
Your guide toexceptional books
BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.