The Compleat Naturalist


Alfred Russel Wallace - The Compleat Naturalist


Speaker: Dr Sandra Knapp

For many, Alfred Russel Wallace is the one who discovered evolution by natural selection coincidently with Charles Darwin, but didn’t get any of the credit. He is often seen as hard done by, and neglected by the scientific community. In this, the centenary of his death in 1913, we celebrate his many accomplishments. All of Wallace’s insights are underpinned by his unparalleled observational skills and keen analysis of things he saw in the field. Field biology – natural history – has fallen out of fashion, but could not be more important as we face global environmental challenges of unprecedented scale and scope. I will explore Wallace’s field experiences and how these contributed to his thinking – from Wales to the Amazon and then the tropics of the Malay Archipelago. His understanding of plant and animal distribution and ecology was the result of his years of collecting and observing – and he put this knowledge to work in integrating ideas about how the natural world works.


Tea will not be served prior to the event.This event will be followed by a wine reception in our Library.

Image above: Cicinnurus regius, Wikimedia commons/Doug Janson.

On Monday 21st October and Tuesday 22nd October the Royal Society are hosting a two day event entitled 'Alfred Russel Wallace and his legacy'. This event is intended for researchers in relevant fields and is free to attend. There are a limited number of places and registration is essential. Please click here to find out more.

On Wednesday 23rd October the Natural History Museum will host an event entitled 'Alfred Russel Wallace and his Legacy - Wallace100 conference'. This is a special event that will be of particular interest for those who wish to find out more about the Wallace-related material kept at the NHM. To find out more and to register, please click here.

Related Links