Peter Dizikes: Writings on Science and Society


Digging for Darwin
How many first-edition copies of On the Origin of Species still exist?
By Peter Dizikes. The New York Times, May 17, 2009

Dozens of people return overdue books to the Boston Public Library every day. Probably only one person, however, has ever walked in holding a book that had been missing for 80 years. Please salute Julie Geissler, the New Hampshire resident who stunned library staff members by showing up unannounced one day in 2001 to return a rare first-edition copy of Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species,” one of the most famous books ever written.

What was Geissler doing with this copy of the treatise that so brilliantly laid out the principles of evolution? Well, in the early 1920s, someone removed the volume from the library. About five years later, Geissler says, a relative of hers, a scholar in Providence, R.I., bought it at a sale. Several years ago, Geissler’s mother, sorting through old family belongings, gave the book to Geissler. “It was in a box in the attic,” she recalled in a recent interview. “If my mother hadn’t noticed, it would have been thrown in the trash.” Geissler and her husband decided to return the book: “Now everyone can see it.”

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My work has appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Slate, Salon, Technology Review, and numerous other publications. You can learn more about me here.

SELECTED ARTICLES BY PETER DIZIKES

E. Coli and You
The New York Times, June 29, 2008

The Meaning of the Butterfly
The Boston Globe, June 8, 2008

Joseph Needham's Grand Question
Seed, May/June 2008

Pure Science
The New York Times, April 13, 2008

Nature Nurtures Learning
The Boston Globe, December 31, 2007

Genes Open New Frontier in Privacy Debate
The Boston Globe, September 24, 2007

Cambridge Scientists Put on a Show
Nature Network Boston, May 1, 2007

Edward O. Wilson Sees Accord on Climate Action
The Boston Globe, January 29, 2007

Genome Human
The New York Times, July 30, 2006

Galileo Groupies
Slate, February 3, 2006

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Peter Dizikes: Writings on Science and Society


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Measure for Measure
Technology Review, July/August 2010

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