Adventures in Science

orange book cover with picture of Galapagos TortoiseSean B. Carroll’s book Remarkable Creatures is about major discoveries in evolution. He glides over a few details, but it’s very readable. I’d like to see each chapter done as a book about the Exciting History of Science for young people. I’m learning things I never knew: that Charles Doolittle Walcott, in addition to discovering the Burgess shale with its Cambrian Explosion fauna:

  • surveyed 25,000 vertical feet of geological strata over two seasons,
  • was one of the first 20 employees of the U.S. Geological service
  • found the first Precambrian fossils
  • consulted in the passing of the Antiquities Act to protect significant sites (e.g. Grand Canyon) and the founding of the National Park Service,
  • drafted the bill that created the national forest reserves
  • secured a museum building to house the National Museum, later the Smithsonian
  • was a science adviser to several U.S. presidents
  • raised the money from private donors to have 12,000 specimens from Roosevelt’s African expedition preserved and shipped back to the U.S.
  • discovered hundreds of thousands of fossils during summer field expeditions with his family
  • brought the Wright brothers official recognition for their work
  • and helped to found the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, which became NASA
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