Two frequently asked questions are 1) how famous was Wallace, and 2) was he really forgotten after his death as some people (like myself) have often said? Responses to these have been based on intuition - but now, thanks to Google's Ngram Viewer, it is possible to answer them in a more quantitative way. Ngram allows users to study the frequency of certain terms (e.g. people's names) in about 5 million books over time. Several terms can be examined on one graph, so one can examine their relative frequencies.
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The Flying Frog Fracas
I have sometimes heard it said that Alfred Russel Wallace coined the term "Darwinism". This is incorrect, although he did use the term (perhaps unfortunately!) as the title of an excellent book about evolution which he published in 1889.
When Alfred Russel Wallace wrote to Charles Darwin from a remote island in Indonesia in 1858, he could not possibly have imagined the consequences. Darwin forwarded the letter and its enclosed essay to Sir Charles Lyell with a despairing note: “So all my originality, whatever it may amount to, will be smashed.” Wallace had independently solved the problem of the origin of species, and this book relates what happened next.
Join the campaign for a Google Doodle to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Wallace's death on the 7th November 2013. Please send an email saying that you would really like to see a Wallace-related Doodle on Google's homepage on the 7th November to email@example.com They did a Doodle for Darwin's 200th birthday, so they may consider one for Wallace if enough people pester them!
Ancestor's Trail and Entangled Bank Events are very kindly helping to raise the remaining £25,000 for the statue of Wallace that the Wallace Memorial Fund has commissioned and which is destined for the Natural History Museum in London where it will be unveiled by Sir David Attenborough on the 100th anniversary of Wallace's death - 7th November 2013.
Below is a table of the events running during Wallace week in Neath, Wales between 15th – 22nd June 2013.
Click on the event and it will take you to a page with more details.
Please support the Ancestor's Trail who are very kindly trying to raise the other half of the money required for the Wallace Fund's bronze statue of Wallace for London's Natural History Museum. Check out the Ancestor's Trail website and their Facebook page. The event they are organising on the August Bank Holiday looks like great fun!
One of the many things I collect is any memorabilia associated with the two 'founding fathers' of modern evolutionary theory, Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace. Whilst items bearing Darwin's likeness, such as fridge magnets, key-ring fobs, figurines, old cigarette cards, postage stamps and even sugar packets, are relatively common, it is much, much more difficult to find any 'tat' emblazoned with Wallace phizog.