Making Sense of Bentley Glass

July 4, 2009 In its obituary, the Washington Post described Bentley Glass (1906-2005) as a “peripatetic figure in the 1950s and 1960s,” a man who seemed to be everywhere and advising everyone. In other obituaries Glass was described as “provocative” and “outspoken.” Editors of course made note of Glass’ more controversial comments, such as his…

Where’d Hugo Go?

Dutch botanist Hugo de Vries was once one of the most famous scientists in the world. De Vries gained worldwide attention in the first decades of the twentieth century as the guy who finally figured out how evolution worked.

Of course today we credit Darwin for this discovery, and backdate it to the publication of Origin of Species in 1859. But for many decades, into the 1930s in fact, Darwin’s theory of natural selection was considered insufficient (See Bowler, 1992). In the minds of many, De Vries’ idea completed the story of evolution.

Howard M. Parshley’s Translation of Simone de Beauvoir’s ‘The Second Sex:’ Contrition, Sabotage or Suicide?

June 24, 2010 For most of the last 25 years, Howard M. Parshley, translator of the first English edition of Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex (1953), has been cast as a saboteur of second-wave feminism. In a 1983 article, Margaret A. Simons characterized Parshley as a barely bilingual hack, ungrounded in philosophy, and bored…

Race, Art and Evolution

June 22, 2010 These reconstructions of Java Man (Pithecanthropus), Neanderthal Man and Cro-Magnon Man were created around 1915 by Columbia University physical anthropologist J. H. McGregor for the American Museum of Natural History. They were designed not just to impress visitors with the wonders of science, but also to promote the eugenic theories of the…