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Charles Darwin: The Best Scientist-Writer of All Time

The Voyage of the Beagle is a literary masterpiece, as well as a scientific one.

· 9 min read
Charles Darwin: The Best Scientist-Writer of All Time
Source: NTB, Science Photo Library/Creative Commons

Several years ago, the editors of an online science blog asked me who I considered the greater scientist: Charles Darwin or Albert Einstein.

Much to the surprise of my interlocutors, I voted for Charles Darwin. My argument was simple. Both Darwin and Einstein revolutionized their respective fields of biology and physics. Both made scientific discoveries that radically changed our perspective on humanity’s place in the cosmos and had broad societal impacts. But only Darwin combined the best characteristics of an observer and a theorist. His theory of evolution through natural selection was both indebted to his own comprehensive and meticulous observations and provided a beautiful theoretical understanding of the evolution of the vast diversity of life on Earth.

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