Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists:
Thompson, D'Arcy Wentworth (Scotland
Photo courtesy Department of Special Collections, University of St Andrews Library |
Thompson, though never an experimentalist and only infrequently committed
to fieldwork, had considerable overall success in natural history studies
and as a teacher. His lasting fame rests almost entirely on his book On
Growth and Form, one of the most celebrated literary works ever produced
by a scientist. Departing from the more usual specialized endeavors of
his day, Thompson's masterwork investigates the commonalities that one
can identify in biological form, and how these observe basic principles
of mathematics and physics; it had a profound influence on twentieth century
studies in fields ranging as widely as architecture, biology, engineering,
and art. Thompson's father was a teacher of classics, and Thompson engaged
the same interest in many of his own associations and writings as well--for
example, in his compiled glossaries of Greek birds and fishes, and translations
--born in Edinburgh, Scotland, on 2 May 1860.
--1880: enters Trinity College, Cambridge, after changing over from medicine
(at Edinburgh University)
--1884-1948: professor of biology (then natural history), University College,
Dundee (later St. Andrews)
--1885: elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh
--1896, 1897: visits the Pribilof Islands to investigate the fur seal
--1898: made Companion of the Order of Bath for his work on the seal fishery
--1898-1939: member of the fishery board in Scotland
--1902-1947: serves on the council of the Conseil Permanent International
pour l'Exploration de la Mer
--1902-1947: editor, Bulletin Statistique
--1916: made a fellow of the Royal Society of London
--1917: publishes his On
Growth and Form
--1928: president, Classical Association
--1931-1933: vice-president, Royal Society of London
--1934-1939: president, Royal Society of Edinburgh
--1936: president, Scottish Classical Association
--1938: awarded the Linnean Society's gold medal
--1942: made president of the Scottish Royal Geographical Society
--dies at St. Andrews, Scotland, on 21 June 1948.
--Dictionary of Scientific Biography, Vol. 13 (1976).
--Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Vol. 54 (2004).
--Contemporary Authors, Vol. 164 (1998).
--Isis, Vol. 41(1) (1950): 3-8.
--American Scientist, Vol. 36(4) (1948): 577-581, 600,
602, 604, 606.
--Topics in the Philosophy of Biology (1976): 66-97.
--New Literary History, Vol. 2(2) (1971): 229-258.
--Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society, No. 18 (1949).
Copyright 2005 by Charles H. Smith. All rights
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