Charles Darwin: Naturalist and Leader in Science

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Over the course of this analysis, I will use information from Gardner’s Changing Minds (Gardner, 2006) and Uzzi and Dunlap’s How to Build Your Network (Uzzi, 2005) to assess Charles Darwin’s influence as a non-positional leader. I will also show a historical analysis, including my reasons for choosing Darwin as my subject, his background, the success and failures of his influence, as well as his legacy. Finally, I will submit my vision of non-positional leadership and mechanisms for leaders to explore their non-positional roles. Charles Darwin’s influence uses some of Gardner’s “levers” or factors that are at work in the case of Darwin’s scientific theories changing minds (Gardner, 2006), and so there is a good level of measure for…show more content…
His initial audience was made up of people with common ground and specialized knowledge, allowing him more leeway to use scientific and research specific terms and information than the general population at that time may have understood. Part of influence in a non-positional role involves the network of individuals you know. Darwin’s ideas would not have spread so quickly, if at all, if Alfred Russell Wallace had not written him. Because of that letter, Lyell and Hooker had their work added to the agenda of the Linnean Society Meeting, and Darwin went forward with publishing On the Origin of Species. Darwin’s relationships weave a tangled picture of the influences of the 1800’s and beyond. (See Figure 1, based on Uzzi & Dunlap (Uzzi, 2005) Julian Huxley, grandson of Thomas Henry Huxley, “proposed that the Darwinian model, which had been relatively neglected by biologists (although popular with social scientists), could now be "rescued" by linking it with Mendelian genetics.” (Hewlett, 2005) This brought Darwin’s theory of evolution, which had begun to fade in resonance back to the forefront of science, leading us to the legacy of Charles Darwin’s influence. Figure 1: Charles Darwin's Network The legacy Charles Darwin left behind is one of continued evolution of thought. His ideas were merged with that of Gregor Mendel’s ideas on genetics and eventually the modern science of DNA to
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