Once We All Had Gills: Growing Up Evolutionist in an Evolving World

Rudolf A. Raff. Indiana Univ., $35 (320p) ISBN 978-0-253-00235-8
With knowledge and humor, Raff relates the story of his personal and professional evolution as a scientist in this part-memoir, part-plea on behalf of the much-maligned sciences of today's political climate. A professor of biology at Indiana University, Raff (The Shape of Life: Genes, Development, and the Evolution of Animal Form) details his childhood interest in science, which began with a collection of dragonflies ("and their elegant cousins, the damselflies"), the mentors that encouraged him in high school, and his eventual founding of the innovative field of evolutionary development ("evo-devo"). Throughout his engaging life narrative, Raff holds forth on intriguing scientific topics, and makes his case for the teaching of evolution in schools, the consequences of scientific assumptions "harnessed to politics," and more. At once a cri de coeur from an eminent scientist on behalf of his profession, Raff's work is also an engaging and informative jaunt through the richly diverse history of evolution as a phenomenon and a course of study. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/30/2012
Release date: 07/01/2012
Ebook - 368 pages - 978-0-253-00717-9
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