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W&L Prof. to Speak on 'Darwin and His Critics' at BC on Feb. 12

Dr. Nicolaas Rupke, the Johnson Professor of History at Washington and Lee University, will speak on “Darwin and His Critics” at Bridgewater College on Tuesday, Feb. 12, at 7:30 p.m. in the Carter Center for Worship and Music.

A native of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, Rupke was trained in earth sciences at the University of Groningen and earned a Ph.D. in marine geology at Princeton University where he graduated summa cum laude.

Rupke’s interests focus on the history of science, particularly late-modern biological and physical sciences as they developed in Germany and Great Britain.

He utilizes a biographical approach to historical figures in science – an approach that blends historiography and the history of ideas to show the ways in which scientific leadership is a product not only of individual genius, but also of collective ideas and institutional forces.

Rupke is the author of numerous books including works on William Buckland, the 19th century British geologist, and Richard Owen, a British contemporary and critic of Charles Darwin and founder of the British Museum of Natural History. He has also written a book on Alexander von Humboldt, the German naturalist and explorer whose work in botanical geography laid the groundwork for the field of biogeography.

Before joining the Washington and Lee faculty in January 2012, Rupke directed the Gottingen Institute for the History of Medicine and the Göttingen Institute for the History of Science.

Rupke has held research fellowships at the Smithsonian Institution, the University of Oxford, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the Wellcome Trust, the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies, the National Humanities Center and the Australian National University Institute for Advanced Studies.

He has been elected a fellow of the Geological Society of America, the Geological Society of London, the Royal Historical Society, the German Academy of Science Leopoldina and the Göttingen Academy of Science.

The program is free and open to the public.

Posted on 1/31/13

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