On October 14th 2017, after delivering the Wallace Memorial Fund's 4th A. R. Wallace Lecture at University College London, Dr James Costa was awarded the Wallace Memorial Fund's silver Wallace Medal for his outstanding contributions to Wallace scholarship. This Sterling Silver medal is the Wallace Fund's highest award.
A video of Costa's excellent lecture "Convincing Lyell: Charles Darwin, Alfred Russel Wallace, and the Great Transmutation Debate" can be seen HERE.
Dr Costa is Professor of Biology at Western Carolina University and the Executive Director of the Highlands Biological Station. His research ranges from insect social behaviour to the history of evolutionary thinking, especially that of the founders of modern evolutionary biology - Darwin and Wallace. Whilst a fellow-in-residence at the Berlin Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin, Germany, Costa completed several papers and two books about Wallace. The first book, On the Organic Law of Change (Harvard, 2013) is an annotated transcription of Wallace's "Species Notebook". This is probably the most important notebook that Wallace kept during his explorations in Southeast Asia, as it provides great insight into the development of his evolutionary thinking prior to his discovery of natural selection. Jim's second book Wallace, Darwin, and the Origin of Species (Harvard, 2014), analyses the ideas and arguments about evolution in the Species Notebook in comparison with those of Darwin, and examines the relationship between the two men. Jim is currently co-editing an Wallace "Companion" volume with Charles Smith and David Collard for the University of Chicago Press. His latest book is Darwin's Backyard: How Small Experiments Led to a Big Theory (Norton, 2017).
Jim Costa with his medal