Sandra Herbert

American historian of geology

Sandra Herbert, née Swanson (born April 10, 1942) is an American historian of science, known as a leading scholar on Charles Darwin. She won the 2020 Sue Tyler Friedman Medal of the Geological Society of London.


  • The name Charles Darwin calls to mind a man and a theory. The theory may refer to its classical formulations in various editions of the Origin of Species or to neo-Darwinism. Charles Darwin's name may also be employed as shorthand to stand for a wide range of subjects touching on evolution. Historians of science have important roles to play in elucidating all these uses of Darwin's name: establishing the details of the man's life, filling out its context and associations, and providing historical analysis of issues current in evolutionary biology.
    • (1993). "Reviewed works: Darwin, Adrian Desmond, James Moore; Charles Darwin: The Man and His Influence, Peter J. Bowler; One Long Argument: Charles Darwin and the Genesis of Modern Evolutionary Thought, Ernst Mayr; Darwin in Italy: Science across Cultural Frontiers, Giuliano Pancaldi, Ruey Brodine Morelli; Charles Darwin's Marginalia. Volume 1, Mario A. Di Gregorio, N. W. Gill". Isis 84 (1): 113–124. DOI:10.1086/356378.
  • As a young man Darwin was known both popularly and professionally as a geologist. In February 1859 the Geological Society awarded him its highest honor, the Wollaston Medal, for his signal contributions to the field. In reading the citation for the medal, Charles Lyell noted Darwin's studies on the growth of coral reefs, on evidence for the modern elevation of Chile and the repeated elevation of the Andes, on South American geology generally, on the distribution of boulders in Britain, and on fossil barnacles.
  • Although Darwin was an innovator, his ideas rested on a foundation of fact and analysis that naturalists and explorers around the world had built up over the course of a century or more.
    • "Introduction". Charles Darwin and the Question of Evolution: A Brief History with Documents. Macmillan Higher Education. 28 January 2011. ISBN 9781319242671. 

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