Synopses & Reviews
Tireless, controversial, and hugely inspirational to those who knew her or encountered her work, Lynn Margulis was a scientist whose intellectual energy and interests knew no bounds. Best known for her work on the origins of eukaryotic cells, the Gaia hypothesis, and symbiogenesis as a driving force in evolution, her work has forever changed the way we understand life on Earth.When Margulis passed away in 2011, she left behind a groundbreaking scientific legacy that spanned decades. In this collection, Dorion Sagan, Margulis's son and longtime collaborator, gathers together the voices of friends and colleagues to remark on her life and legacy, in essays that cover her early collaboration with James Lovelock, her fearless face-off with Richard Dawkins during the so-called "Battle of Balliol" at Oxford, the intrepid application of her scientific mind to the insistence that 9/11 was a false-flag operation, her affinity for Emily Dickinson, and more.Margulis was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1983, received the prestigious National Medal of Science in 1999, and her papers are permanently archived at the Library of Congress. Less than a month before her untimely death, Margulis was named one of the twenty most influential scientists alive - one of only two women on this list, which include such scientists as Stephen Hawking, James Watson, and Jane Goodall.
"There are two kinds of great scientists, writes former American Society of Microbiology president Moselio Schaechter in this eclectic, sometimes electrifying, book about biologist Lynn Margulis. There are those making 'impressive experiments' and those making 'groundbreaking theoretical syntheses.' Margulis was the latter, notes Schaechter. Margulis fiercely championed evolutionary symbiogenesis, the merging of distinct organisms to form new organisms in swift, un-Darwinian leaps. Margulis was eventually proven right in some life forms. But her insistence that most evolution involves symbiogenesis led to a lifetime of debate. It also leads to some inspired writing in this book of essays, edited by Sagan, her son and cowriter (Dazzle Gradually: Reflectiions on the nature of Nature). 'A dangerous liaison' is what Margulis felt drove species creation, writes Oxford paleobiologist Martin Brasier in one of the best essays. 'A symbiosis between two distantly related organisms that wantonly swapped their genetic information to form completely new genetic strains.' Some writing here reflects the idea that life is not a hierarchical tree, but a web, and embraces aspects of the controversial 'Gaia' earth model which may put Traditional Darwinian scientists. But this is a captivating read for anyone interested in what powers great scientists. Color illus. (Oct.) H Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years. Mark Rosenthal, Marla Prather, Ian Alteveer, and Rebeccal Lowery Metropolitan Museum of Art (Yale Univ., dist.), (304p) ISBN 978-1-58839-470-5 It's no surprise that the legacy of Andy Warhol, one of the most influential, game-changing artists of the 20th century, continues to direct the course of contemporary art. This catalogue, accompanying an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, tracks some of the layered manifestations of that influence. The first third of the text gives a sprawling account of Warhol's own career, paired with quick-fire analogues in the work of other artists. But it is the interviews with working artists that deeply explore the complexities of that legacy. While John Baldessari discusses the personal impact of Warhol's first solo show in 1962, Ryan Trecartin remembers initially encountering Warhol at a Target department store in the mid-1990s. The Warhol of these interviews is as often generous and inspiring as he is the source of discomfort, even directly stealing from pop artist Alex Katz (Katz doesn't seem to mind particularly). The final section celebrates a number of works outside the Metropolitan exhibit that directly reference the Pop artist. The entirety of the catalogue presents an expanse of diverging critical opinions, dovetailing through striking reproductions of sculpture, painting, prints that reinforce Richard Artschwager's statement, 'Everybody has their own Warhol,' making the Pop artist at once familiar and newly exciting. Color illus. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Dorion Sagan is author of numerous articles and twenty-three books translated into eleven languages, including Notes from the Holocene: A Brief History of the Future and Into the Cool, coauthored with Eric D. Schneider. His writings have appeared in The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, Wired, Skeptical Inquirer, Pabular, Smithsonian, Ecologist, CoEvolution Quarterly, The Times Higher Education, Omni, Natural History, The Sciences, Cabinet, and Tricycle.