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Darwin's Backyard: How Small Experiments Led to a Big Theory

9780393356304
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“If you’ve ever fantasized walking and conversing with the great scientist on the subjects that consumed him, and now wish to add the fullness of reality, read this book.” —Edward O. Wilson, author of Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life

James T. Costa takes readers on a journey from Darwin’s childhood through his voyage on the HMS Beagle, where his ideas on evolution began, and on to Down House, his bustling home of forty years. Using his garden and greenhouse, the surrounding meadows and woodlands, and even the cellar and hallways of his home-turned-field-station, Darwin tested ideas of his landmark theory of evolution through an astonishing array of experiments without using specialized equipment. From those results, he plumbed the laws of nature and drew evidence for the revolutionary arguments of On the Origin of Species and other watershed works.

This unique perspective introduces us to an enthusiastic correspondent, collaborator, and, especially, an incorrigible observer and experimenter. And it includes eighteen experiments for home, school, or garden.

Finalist for the 2018 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prizes for Excellence in Science Books.

Cover:
Paperback
Edition Number:
1
ISBN:
9780393356304
Pages:
464
Author:
Costa James
Publisher:
NORTON
Release Year:
2018

James T. Costa is a professor of biology at Western Carolina University, executive director of Highlands Biological Station, and a trustee of the Charles Darwin Trust. The author of Wallace, Darwin, and the Origin of Species; The Annotated Origin; and The Other Insect Societies, he lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.