7 November 2013 was the centenary of the death of an amazing naturalist who had an extraordinary impact on the scientific world – Alfred Russel Wallace. To help mark this anniversary the latest Kew magazine reveals the connections between this great man and Kew.
There's plenty in the news at the moment about Alfred Russel Wallace, and here at Kew magazine we certainly wanted to celebrate the work of one of the best naturalists in the history of science. Not only did Wallace discover plenty of new species, map unexplored areas, and become known as the father of biogeography – he is also the co-discoverer of the theory of evolution by natural selection.
Read about Wallace's connections with Kew, and some of the intriguing artefacts Kew holds, in this Kew magazine article (pdf)
There is plenty in the Kew archives about Wallace, including many letters to the directors of the Gardens discussing both science and whether he could have a few plants for his own garden. There are also some intriguing palm specimens which were the only specimens to survive his arduous expedition to the Amazon after his ship home burned and sank.
Read Stephanie Pain's revealing article and then take a look at a charming little animated film she recommended to me from The New York Times.
You can find out lots more about Wallace and the celebrations of his centenary at the Natural History Museum, who have been co-ordinating the events. A new statue of Wallace has just been unveiled at the Museum too!
Although many view Wallace as a man who was overshadowed by his counterpart Charles Darwin, Wallace certainly never thought so at the time and indeed was one of the most celebrated scientists of his day. Whatever your view, now is the time to remember this giant of natural history and admire his tenacity and ground-breaking insights.
Christina accepts a Kew Publishing award at the Garden Media Guild awards in 2012.
Christina joined Kew in 1999 after finishing a BSc. degree in Plant Ecology and an Advanced National Certificate in Horticulture. After initially working as a horticulturist in Kew’s Arboretum and the Hardy Display section (on the Grass Garden) she went on to become Festivals Interpretation Officer between 2002-2008, helping Kew’s onsite visitors understand what makes Kew tick. In the meantime she completed an MA in Garden History, a subject that continues to be one of her passions.
Christina was short-listed for a Garden Writers Guild award in 2007 for one of her articles in Kew magazine, and is the author of Kew’s Big Trees, published in 2008. She became editor of Kew magazine in September 2008. “I see Kew magazine as a window on the world of Kew,” she says. “I hope between its pages the many facets of Kew’s work and the people who make it happen are revealed for all to see and encourage readers to continue to support Kew.”
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