Charles Darwin: Naturalist And Leader In Science

1491 words - 6 pages

Over the course of this analysis, I will use information from Gardner’s Changing Minds (Gardner, 2006) and Uzzi and Dunlap’s How to Build Your Network (Uzzi, 2005) to assess Charles Darwin’s influence as a non-positional leader. I will also show a historical analysis, including my reasons for choosing Darwin as my subject, his background, the success and failures of his influence, as well as his legacy. Finally, I will submit my vision of non-positional leadership and mechanisms for leaders to explore their non-positional roles.
Charles Darwin’s influence uses some of Gardner’s “levers” or factors that are at work in the case of Darwin’s scientific theories changing minds (Gardner, 2006), and so there is a good level of measure for Darwin’s successes and failures as a non-positional leader. Part of the reason Darwin was able to reach many people was the initial network of scientists and other leaders Darwin had created in his life, and so Uzzi and Dunlap’s network analysis (Uzzi, 2005)will help define the reach of Darwin’s contacts.
The historical analysis of Charles Darwin includes my rationale for choosing him as my topic, his background, the elements of his successes and failures of his influence, and his legacy. I have chosen Charles Darwin for the subject of my research paper because of his influence on science through his theory of evolution. He is a clear example of change in thought, as Gardner points out in our text (Gardner, 2006), but besides that, I have always had an interest in his work. I took a course on the English of Biology and read Origin of Species (Darwin, 1982) which continued to interest me in his work. Charles Darwin and his theories are often cited and used for various purposes, so I feel his influence is still relevant and researching that would be an interesting experience.
Charles Darwin was born on February 12, 1809 in Shrewsbury, England. He would begin to study natural history at Cambridge with John Stevens Henslow, a botanist and geologist. (Eldredge, 2005) After a small amount of work in the field, he would become the naturalist for Captain Robert FitzRoy on the now famous Beagle voyage from 1831 to 1836, where he first noted the different species of finch on the Galapagos Islands. In 1840, he married his cousin and lifelong supporter, Emma Wedgwood; Emma was concerned that Charles’ work and religious doubts would keep them apart after death, but appreciated his openness with her in regards to his ideas. Darwin actually developed his ideas of evolution and natural selection long before he published them. He was concerned that his work would be rejected and scorned, but a letter from Alfred Russell Wallace, a naturalist inspired by Darwin, held the same ideas and their combined work was presented at the Linnean Society meeting on July 1, 1858. (Eldredge, 2005) This galvanized Darwin to complete and publish On the Origin of Species in 1859.
The synopsis of Gardner’s use of Charles Darwin as an example can be...

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