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Division of Microbiology and Infection Seminar

20 May 2014, 1.00pm-2.00pm, GLT2, Warwick Medical School Building, University of Warwick

Title: 'Dispelling the Darkness: Alfred Russel Wallace and Charles Darwin'



Dr John van Wyhe, Senior Lecturer, Department of Biological Sciences, Department of History, Fellow of Tembusu College, National University of Singapore; Director, Darwin Online


The story of Darwin and Wallace and the discovery of evolution by natural selection has been told for 150 years but Wallace has never received anything like the research that has been lavished on Darwin.

Instead a legendary version of Wallace has emerged over several decades.

This Wallace was a downtrodden and wronged hero who nevertheless discovered the same theory as Darwin and indeed exceeded him in many ways. Indeed this Wallace is the "Jungle hero" of Bill Bailey's recent BBC series. But the historical Wallace, and the true story of his voyage and discoveries is very, very different.


John van WyheJohn van Wyhe is a historian of science who specializes on Darwin and Wallace. He is the director of Darwin Online and Wallace Online. His latest book, Dispelling the Darkness (2013), radically revises the traditional story based on the most thorough historical research programme ever conducted on Wallace in the Malay archipelago.