Eulogy: Stephen Jay Gould

Stephen Jay Gould reinvented science writing. Before him, we had the flowery exaltation of nature ("Far in the empty sky a solitary esophagus slept upon motionless wing," in Mark Twain's parody) and the skin-deep attempt to bring science to the masses (immune cells are little soldiers--no, they're locks and keys--except when they're garbage disposals). Gould's essays were something else: witty, respectful of his readers' intelligence, always finding a principle in a grain of sand and a law in a wildflower. That the essays were also a velvet glove for Gould's iron convictions drove many scientists crazy. But we all admired his...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!