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Modeling Nature: Episodes in the History of Population Ecology (Science & Its Conceptual Foundations) [Paperback]

Sharon E Kingsland
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

16 Oct 1995 Science & Its Conceptual Foundations
The first history of population ecology traces two generations of science and scientists from the opening of the twentieth century through 1970. Kingsland chronicles the careers of key figures and the field's theoretical, empirical, and institutional development, with special attention to tensions between the descriptive studies of field biologists and later mathematical models. This second edition includes a new afterword that brings the book up to date, with special attention to the rise of "the new natural history" and debates about ecology's future as a large-scale scientific enterprise.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 316 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; 2nd Revised edition edition (16 Oct 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226437280
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226437286
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,450,436 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Darwin was wonderfully struck by how the presence of the most complex forms of creation could be explained by referring to the common processes continually in action and open to our view. Read the first page
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent march through the development of population ecology - lots of thought provoking stretches and a good read (I read it on holiday!) I found myself admiring the eloquence with which Sharon Kingsland made points I had thought but never managed to express, or realise were perhaps valid. The things I took from the book were:

1) There are different types of ecologist, detail freaks and blurred visionaries. Both are necessary.
2) Inductive v deductive research: be wary of the blinkers on creativity imposed by rigid adherence to a purist null-hypothesis driven view of the world. Both creativity and discipline are necessary for progress.
3) The impact of society and people on scientific progress is incredibly important. Human emotion, territoriality and competitiveness are drivers of or interfere with progress. Academics chasing limited resources and their own prestige are driven to defending their ideas beyond the point where they are rationally defensible.

Having read this, I now appreciate much more the relationship between where we come from in ecology and where we are going and how an understanding of both is required. I'll look for more histories of science!
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An eye opening and informative history of ecology 3 Aug 2013
By Magnus Johnson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is an excellent march through the development of population ecology - lots of thought provoking stretches and a good read (I read it on holiday!) I found myself admiring the eloquence with which Sharon Kingsland made points I had thought but never managed to express, or realise were perhaps valid. The things I took from the book were:

1) There are different types of ecologist, detail freaks and blurred visionaries. Both are necessary.
2) Inductive v deductive research: be wary of the blinkers on creativity imposed by rigid adherence to a purist null-hypothesis driven view of the world. Both creativity and discipline are necessary for progress.
3) The impact of society and people on scientific progress is incredibly important. Human emotion, territoriality and competitiveness are drivers of or interfere with progress. Academics chasing limited resources and their own prestige are driven to defending their ideas beyond the point where they are rationally defensible.

Having read this, I now appreciate much more the relationship between where we come from in ecology and where we are going and how an understanding of both is required. I'll look for more histories of science!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars scientists are human, science is not ahistorical... 23 Jun 2002
By Ms. Pei-jen L. Shaner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Kingsland is biology by training therefore many scientific concepts in this book are very welled summarized and organized, making it easy for professionals and non-professional as well to grasp the general ideas in population biology. However, this book focus more on the historical context and the personality of some key scientists in this area, which gives readers more indepth understanding outside science itself. The auther did a wonderful job in interweaving science and human sides, and made it easy to pick up some major transitions in the history of population biology. highly recommmended to professional population ecologists, and general public who is interested in science as well! a bonus: some pictures of famous scientists in this area, such as McArthur, Lokta, Volttera etc...it's interesting to me, after reading all their work, finally had a chance to see what they look like.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent starting point... 27 Dec 2002
By John Anderson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
...for anyone interested in the history and development of Population Biology. It is a real shame that this book has gone out of print (and that Kingsland hasn't chosen to do a second edition)as this relatively short (267pp) book captured the really important trends and ideas of mathematical ecology up to the early 1970's in straight-forward and remarkably non-technical language. Kingsland gives us both the theories and the background and personalities that generated the theories, along with some delightful portraits of the Heavy Hitters during this seminal period in theoretical ecology. She ends with MacArthur & one would like to think that enough has happened since then that a sequel is in order, but I would recommend this book to any advanced undergrad or first-year grad student looking for background material.
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful 23 Dec 2011
By A - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Nature has many ways to understand it, and this book is great for understanding how scientists model nature and the equations we currently use to analyze it.
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