Readers of Haeckel's Embryos will get the initial impression that it is talking about the German biologist Ernst Haeckel (1834–1919) and the controversies surrounding his iconic image of developing embryos for promoting Darwinian evolution. And this impression is correct, as the book elaborates the fierce arguments through time, from the first publication of the image in the nineteenth century to US creationists’ attacks on textbooks in the twenty-first century. However, Haeckel's Embryos tells of far more than Darwinism, embryology, or a historical case of scientific controversies. Its real focus is on exploring the culture of visual representation in the sciences and communications industry. To achieve this objective, Nick Hopwood chooses Haeckel's embryo image, with its rich history of disputations as a canonical or infamous picture. By tracking the genesis of a scientific image, Hopwood tries to find out “how pictures of...
Haeckel's Embryos: Images, Evolution, and Fraud
Hsiang-Fu Huang is an honorary research associate in the Department of Science and Technology Studies, University College London (UCL). He was awarded a PhD in history and philosophy of science by UCL in 2015. His dissertation is titled “Commercial and Sublime: Popular Astronomy Lectures in Nineteenth-Century Britain.” His research interests include the history of popular science, natural science (particularly astronomy) in the nineteenth century, and representations of science in media and culture.
Hsiang-Fu Huang; Haeckel's Embryos: Images, Evolution, and Fraud. East Asian Science, Technology and Society 1 June 2017; 11 (2): 293–295. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/18752160-3589786
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