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Alfred Russel Wallace

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Victorian pioneer of evolutionary theory Alfred Russel Wallace.

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the work of Alfred Russel Wallace, a pioneer of evolutionary theory. Born in 1823, Wallace travelled extensively, charting the distribution of animal species throughout the world. This fieldwork in the Amazon and later the Malay Archipelago led him to formulate a theory of evolution through natural selection. In 1858 he sent the paper he wrote on the subject to Charles Darwin, who was spurred into the writing and publication of his own masterpiece On the Origin of Species. Wallace was also the founder of the science of biogeography and made important discoveries about the nature of animal coloration. But despite his visionary work, Wallace has been overshadowed by the greater fame of his contemporary Darwin.


Steve Jones
Emeritus Professor of Genetics at University College London

George Beccaloni
Curator of Cockroaches and Related Insects and Director of the Wallace Correspondence Project at the Natural History Museum

Ted Benton
Professor of Sociology at the University of Essex

Producer: Thomas Morris.

Available now

42 minutes

Last on

Thu 21 Mar 2013 21:30


Professor Steve Jones at University College London


Dr George Beccaloni at the Natural History Museum


Professor Ted Benton at the University of Essex


Wallace Letters Online


Wallace Online


The Alfred Russel Wallace Correspondence Project


Great Minds Think Alike


Richard Milner's capsule biography of Wallace


On the Origin of a Theory


Escaping Darwin's Shadow


The Alfred Russel Wallace Page


Introduction - The Alfred Russel Wallace Website


The Linnean Society of London


Alfred Russel Wallace - Wikipedia





T. Benton, Alfred Russel Wallace: Explorer, Evolutionist and Public Intellectual - A Thinker For Our Own Time? (Siri Scientific, 2013 forthcoming)


M. Fichman, An Elusive Victorian: The Evolution of Alfred Russel Wallace (University of Chicago, 2004)


J. Marchant, Alfred Russel Wallace: Letters and Reminiscence (Cassell, 1916)


P. Raby, Alfred Russel Wallace: A Life (Chatto & Windus, 2001)


R. A. Slotten, The Heretic in Darwin's Court: The Life of Alfred Russel Wallace (Columbia University Press, 2004)


C. H. Smith & G. Beccaloni (eds), Natural Selection and Beyond: The Intellectual Legacy of Alfred Russel Wallace (Oxford University Press, 2008)


A. R. Wallace, My Life: A Record of Events and Opinions (Kessinger Publishing, 2004)


A. R. Wallace, The Malay Archipelago (General Books, 2009)



  • Thu 21 Mar 2013 09:00
  • Thu 21 Mar 2013 21:30

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