On Saturday 22nd November 2008 the Scientific and Medical Network ( organised a conference at the Linnean Society of London on the life and work of Alfred Russel Wallace, in order to commemorate the 150th anniversary this year of Wallace's independent discovery of evolution by natural selection (see


Aubrey Manning, Chair of the meeting.

The conference also served as the launch for the book I co-edited with Charles Smith i.e. Natural selection and beyond: The intellectual legacy of Alfred Russel Wallace (see Forty copies of the book were for sale and all sold out on the day!

The original idea of the conference was conceived by David Lorimer of the SMN and Charla Devereux of the SMN did a lot of the organisation of it. About 70-80 people attended, including four who flew over from the USA especially for the occasion. Comedian Bill Bailey also came along to do research for a show he is planning about Wallace next year (see a photo of him below).

The meeting was introduced and chaired by Prof. Aubrey Manning (University of Edinburgh), presenter of the BBC's acclaimed documentary series Earth Story, and five other speakers gave talks on topics ranging from the events surrounding Wallace's discovery of natural selection, to his contributions to the economics. The talks were recorded for the SMN by Martin Redfern (senior producer in the BBC Radio Science Unit) and Martin and the SMN have kindly allowed the Wallace Fund to put copies of the sound files on this website. The talks are mp3 files of around 20MB each and you can download them by right clicking a link below and saving the file to your hard drive. They can then be played using any audio player (e.g. RealPlayer -


Aubrey Manning: Introduction, followed by Peter Raby: Alfred Russel Wallace: The Evolution of an Unforgotten Naturalist [RIGHT CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD]

George Beccaloni: Wallace, Darwin and the Discovery of Natural Selection [RIGHT CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD]

Roy Davies: Wallace, Darwin and the Discovery of Natural Selection - a New Interpretation of the Events [RIGHT CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD]

Charles Smith: Wallace and Final Causes: Spiritualism, Evolution, and Beyond [RIGHT CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD]

David Collard: Alfred Russel Wallace as a Social Reformer [RIGHT CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD]



(Photos copyright of Jan Beccaloni)


 Professor Aubrey Manning, OBE, FRSE is Emeritus Professor of Natural History in the University of Edinburgh and has presented numerous BBC television and radio programmes on natural history including BBC2's Earth Story and Talking Landscapes. Most recently he could be heard on Radio 4 series such as The Sounds of Life, which attempted to recreate the first sounds heard on earth and explored natural sounds ranging from the seabed to the jungle, and The Rules of Life which attempts to get across the way natural selection operates at all stages of an animal's life history. He has been Chairman of the Scottish Wildlife Trust and a Trustee of the National Museums of Scotland and Project Wallacea.

Dr. Peter Raby has lectured in Drama and English at Homerton College , Cambridge for thirty years. His books include Fair Ophelia - a life of Harriet Smithson Berlioz - studies of Oscar Wilde and Aubrey Beardsley, biographies of Samuel Butler and Alfred Russel Wallace, and Bright Paradise, a book about Victorian scientific travellers. He is the editor of two Cambridge Companions, on Wilde and Pinter, and has written extensively on modern drama and theatre. He is currently working on a new study of Wilde, and on an expanded second edition of the Cambridge Companion to Pinter (November 2009).


 Dr. George W. Beccaloni is an evolutionary biologist/entomologist who is currently the curator of grasshoppers, cockroaches and related insects at The Natural History Museum, London. George founded the A. R.Wallace Memorial Fund which has restored Wallace’s grave in Broadstone, Dorset, and has erected monuments to commemorate him at his birthplace and elsewhere. He played a key role in helping the NHM acquire an important collection of Wallace’s manuscripts, books and insect specimens from his surviving family in 2002. He is co-editor of Natural Selection and Beyond: The Intellectual Legacy of Alfred Russel Wallace.

 Roy Davies - In a BBC career spanning 30 years, Roy Davies wrote, produced and directed many acclaimed programmes for the BBC2 archaeology and history series Chronicle. In his seven years as editor of the history series Timewatch he commissioned ground-breaking investigative documentaries which challenged popular historical beliefs. His final position at the BBC before retiring in 1995 was as Head of Factual Programmes for BBC Wales. He is now a visiting lecturer in screenwriting at the London College of Communication, part of London 's University of the Arts.


 Professor Charles H. Smith is Science Librarian and Professor of Library Public Services at Western Kentucky University in the U.S.A. Charles is primarily a biogeographer by training, and has published research in that field, history of science, library science, bibliography, and systems theory. His books include Alfred Russel Wallace: An Anthology of His Shorter Writings, Biodiversity Studies: A Bibliographic Review, and the co-edited Natural Selection and Beyond: The Intellectual Legacy of Alfred Russel Wallace. He has also created and maintains a dozen free access informational websites on subjects ranging from music to biogeography, including The Alfred Russel Wallace Page.

Professor David Collard - After a first class honours in the Economics Tripos at Cambridge in 1960 David Collard took up lectureships at the Universities of Wales and Bristol . In 1978 he was appointed to the Chair of Economics at the University of Bath where he has been pro-Vice-Chancellor and is now Professor Emeritus. His main interests are in welfare economics and the history of economics and he has written extensively on Malthus, Bentham, Pigou, Marshall, Hicks and other leading economists. He is currently working on the problem of choice across the generations.


(all copyright Jan Beccaloni)


 The speakers and audience in the meetings room of the Linnean Society of London.


 David Collard (left), Aubrey Manning (centre) and George Beccaloni (right). Aubrey is sitting on the Linnean President's chair - the same chair which would have been used at the famous meeting of 1858.


 George with comedian Bill Bailey.

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