Hewett Cottrell Watson: Victorian Plant Ecologist and Evolutionist
Hewett Cottrell Watson was a pioneer in the science of ecology, and was practically the first naturalist to conduct research on plant evolution, beginning in 1834. Of particular significance to the history of science is his contribution to the development of Darwin's theory of evolution. The correspondence between Watson and Darwin, analysed for the first time in this book, reveals the extent to which Darwin profited from Watson's data. Darwin's subsequent fame, however, is one of the reasons why Watson became almost forgotten.Watson can also be called a classic Victorian eccentric, and aimed to carry forward the cause of phrenology. Indeed, he was a more daring theoretician here than ever he was in botany, but in the end he abandoned phrenology, not being able to raise it to the level of an accepted science. This biography traces the influences and characteristics that shaped Watson's outlook and personality, and so his science, and the institutional contexts within which he worked. At the same time, it makes evident the extent of his real contributions to the science of plant ecology and evolution.
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