The Loom

Mister Adaptation

Williams.gifDo you know who George Williams is? If you don’t, let me introduce you to one of the most influential evolutionary biologists ever to ponder natural selection. If you do know who he is, you may still be interested in my article in this week’s Science about a symposium that was recently held in Williams’s honor. Scientists studying everything from pregnancy to economic decision making explained how Williams’s remarkably clear thinking about the nature of adaptation helped them in their research.

A pdf of the article is also available.


  1. #1 Ed Hessler
    June 1, 2004

    Thanks for the essay in Science (my copy just arrived this morning) about George Williams, one of the giants in evolutionary biology. His influence is nothing short of remarkable. What a thinker and how he challenges us (used loosely in my case since I’m a K-12 science educator)to think clearly about evidence. He is one of those great forces in evolutionary thinking and more than deserves the two pages Science gave to him. What a festschrift, too! Wow. It is about time.

  2. #2 the bunyip
    June 1, 2004

    How good of you to put up the article text. Those of us on the outskirts are greatly aided by such gestures.

    Williams is the kind of example i enjoy holding up for students to admire and emulate. Challenge everything, then do the work needed to see who’s correct.

    Gould’s character assassinations might well be laid to rest with him.

    stephen a. haines
    Ottawa, Canada

  3. #3 Joe Dunckley
    June 1, 2004

    The PDF link is broken!

    (However, this is nowhere near as heinious as visiting Bristol on the one week I’m not there. By the way, you didn’t visit the Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm while you were here did you?)

  4. #4 Carl Zimmer
    June 1, 2004

    PDF link is now fixed.

    Never heard of the Noah’s Ark Zoo, I must admit. Sounds like some of the creationist tourist destinations we have here in the States!

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