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Carl Woese

Michael Flannery on non-Darwinian discoverer of the Archaea, Carl Woese

Woese as "scarred revolutionary"? He had to fight hard to get the Archaea, the third kingdom of life, accepted. He regretted that he had not succeeded in overthrowing “the hegemony of the culture of Darwin.” Read More ›

Archaea discoverer Carl Woese’s theological reflections in old age

It’s a good question whether Woese would have recognized the Archaea for what they were, had he not been in the habit of thinking for himself. Maybe he would have just been satisfied to shoehorn them into the conventional scheme somewhere. Read More ›

Nature editor’s five best 2018 books include two of our favs

When Nature’s Books and Arts editor Barbara Kiser’stop five for 2018 came out, #s 1 and 2 were Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray by Sabine Hossenfelder on the troubled state of theoretical physics, of which Kiser says, Lost in Math is a firecracker of a book—a shot across the bows of theoretical physics. Sabine Hossenfelder, a theoretical physicist working on quantum gravity (and author of the blog Backreaction) confronts failures in her field head-on. The foundations of physics have not improved, she reminds us, for more than three decades. and The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life by David Quammen on the troubled state of the concept of the Tree of Life. of which she says, thinking Read More ›

Jerry Coyne continues to be unhappy over David Quammen’s book on Carl Woese

Readers will remember science writer David Quammen’s new book, The Tangled Tree:A Radical New History of Life, a biography of Carl Woese, who first identified the Archaea (and doubted Darwinism). They will also doubtless remember Darwinian evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne, who does not life Tangled Tree, and… Well, he still doesn’t like it and has been holding forth of late: Most of the publicity about the book—to be sure, publicity pushed by Quammen himself—centers on HGT. It is, we’re told, something that radically overturns Darwin’s view of the “tree of life” and of evolution, and even revises our own view of “what it means to be human” (after all, we’re also told, a substantial part of our genome is dead, Read More ›

At New York Times: Darwin skeptic Carl Woese “effectively founded a new branch of science”

David Quammen, author of The Tangled Tree:A Radical New History of Life, a biography of Darwin skeptic Carl Woese, who discovered the Archaea, offers a long reflection at the New York Times on how biology is moving away from Darwinism: Woese was a rebel researcher, obscure but ingenious, crotchety, driven. He had his Warholian 15 minutes of fame on the front page of The Times, and then disappeared back into his lab in Urbana, scarcely touched by popular limelight throughout the remaining 35 years of his career. But he is the most important biologist of the 20th century that you’ve never heard of. He asked profound questions that few other scientists had asked. He created a method — clumsy and Read More ›

At Nature: New evolution book represents “radical” new perspective

Including things you didn’t know about Archaea discoverer, Carl Woese. From a review of The Tangled Tree:A Radical New History of Life by David Quammen (Simon & Schuster, 2018): In The Tangled Tree, celebrated science writer David Quammen tells perhaps the grandest tale in biology: how scientists used gene sequencing to elucidate the evolutionary relationships between living beings. Charles Darwin called it the ‘great Tree of Life’. But as Quammen reveals, at the molecular level, life’s history is more accurately depicted as a network, a tangled web through which organisms have been exchanging genes for more than 3 billion years. This perspective is indeed radical, and he presents the science — and the scientists involved — with patience, candour and Read More ›