Charles Robert Darwin (; 12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) was an English naturalist, geologist and biologist, best known for his contributions to the science of evolution. His proposition that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestors is now widely accepted, and considered a foundational concept in science. In a joint publication with Alfred Russel Wallace, he introduced his scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection, in which the struggle for existence has a similar effect to the artificial selection involved in selective breeding. Darwin has been described as one of the most influential figures in human history, and he was honoured by burial in Westminster Abbey.Darwin published his theory of evolution with compelling evidence in his 1859 book On the Origin of Species. By the 1870s, the scientific community and a majority of the educated public had accepted evolution as a fact. However, many favoured competing explanations which gave only a minor role to natural selection, and it was not until the emergence of the modern evolutionary synthesis from the 1930s to the 1950s that a broad consensus developed in which natural selection was the basic mechanism of evolution. Darwin's scientific discovery is the unifying theory of the life sciences, explaining the diversity of life.Darwin's early interest in nature led him to neglect his medical education at the University of Edinburgh; instead, he helped to investigate marine invertebrates. Studies at the University of Cambridge (Christ's College) encouraged his passion for natural science. His five-year voyage on HMS Beagle established him as an eminent geologist whose observations and theories supported Charles Lyell's conception of gradual geological change, and publication of his journal of the voyage made him famous as a popular author.Puzzled by the geographical distribution of wildlife and fossils he collected on the voyage, Darwin began detailed investigations, and in 1838 conceived his theory of natural selection. Although he discussed his ideas with several naturalists, he needed time for extensive research and his geological work had priority. He was writing up his theory in 1858 when Alfred Russel Wallace sent him an essay that described the same idea, prompting immediate joint publication of both of their theories. Darwin's work established evolutionary descent with modification as the dominant scientific explanation of diversification in nature. In 1871 he examined human evolution and sexual selection in The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, followed by The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872). His research on plants was published in a series of books, and in his final book, The Formation of Vegetable Mould, through the Actions of Worms (1881), he examined earthworms and their effect on soil.
Siddhartha Mukherjee (born 21 July 1970) is an Indian-American physician, biologist, oncologist, and author. He is best known for his 2010 book, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer that won notable literary prizes including the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction, and Guardian First Book Award, among others. The book was listed in the "All-Time 100 Nonfiction Books" (the 100 most influential books of the last century) by Time magazine in 2011. His 2016 book The Gene: An Intimate History made it to #1 on The New York Times Best Seller list, and was among The New York Times 100 best books of 2016, and a finalist for the Wellcome Trust Prize and the Royal Society Prize for Science Books. After completing school education in India, Mukherjee studied biology at Stanford University, obtained a D.Phil. from University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, and an M.D. from Harvard University. He joined NewYork–Presbyterian Hospital / Columbia University Medical Center in New York City in 2009. As of 2018, he is an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology and Oncology.Featured in the Time 100 list of most influential people, Mukherjee writes for The New Yorker and is a columnist in The New York Times. He is described as part of a select group of doctor-writers (such as Oliver Sacks and Atul Gawande) who have "transformed the public discourse on human health", and allowed a generation of readers a rare and intimate glimpse into the life of science and medicine. His research concerns the physiology of cancer cells, immunological therapy for blood cancers, and the discovery of bone- and cartilage-forming stem cells in the vertebrate skeleton.The Government of India conferred on him its fourth highest civilian award, the Padma Shri, in 2014.
Edward Osborne Wilson (June 10, 1929 – December 26, 2021) was an American biologist, naturalist, and writer. His specialty was myrmecology, the study of ants, on which he was called the world's leading expert, and he was nicknamed Ant Man.Wilson has been called "the father of sociobiology" and "the father of biodiversity" for his environmental advocacy, and his secular-humanist and deist ideas pertaining to religious and ethical matters. Among his contributions to ecological theory is the theory of island biogeography (developed in collaboration with the mathematical ecologist Robert MacArthur), which served as the foundation of the field of conservation area design, as well as the unified neutral theory of biodiversity of Stephen P. Hubbell. Wilson was the Pellegrino University Research Professor, Emeritus in Entomology for the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, a lecturer at Duke University, and a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. The Royal Swedish Academy, which awards the Nobel Prize, awarded Dr. Wilson the Crafoord Prize, an award designed to cover areas not covered by Nobel Prizes. He was a Humanist Laureate of the International Academy of Humanism. He was a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction (for On Human Nature in 1979, and The Ants in 1991) and a New York Times bestselling author for The Social Conquest of Earth, Letters to a Young Scientist, and The Meaning of Human Existence. Wilson was recognised as one of the most important scientists and influential people in the world by publications such as Time and the Encyclopædia Britannica. He received more than 150 prestigious awards and medals around the world, and was an honorary member of more than 30 world renowned and prestigious organizations, academies and institutions. Several animal species have been scientifically named in his honor, mostly ant species as well as one bird and one bat species.
Robert Morris Sapolsky (born April 6, 1957) is an American neuroendocrinologist and author. He is currently a professor of biology, and professor of neurology and neurological sciences and, by courtesy, neurosurgery, at Stanford University. In addition, he is a research associate at the National Museums of Kenya.
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