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D’Arcy Thompson knew my (Grand)fathers

D’Arcy Thompson knew my (Grand)fathers

Burt, Peter (2017) D’Arcy Thompson knew my (Grand)fathers. In: On Growth and Form 100, 13-16 October 2017, University of Dundee and University of St Andrews. (Unpublished)

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Setting some of D’Arcy Thompson’s work in a broader historical context, this presentation will discuss aspects of the careers of two individuals who interacted with D’Arcy through what we would now recognise as D’Arcy’s widening participation and outreach activities, as well his abilities as a teacher and a scientist. Coincidentally, despite a mutual professional knowledge of D’Arcy there is no evidence that these two people ever met, but they have a common descendent.

Captain Sir William Adams, from Dundee, was a whaler and navigator of the Arctic and Antarctic. Although D’Arcy’s collaboration with the Dundee whalers is well documented, no correspondence between him and William Adams has been found. However, Adams provided material for D’Arcy’s teaching collection in University College, and it is highly likely they would have discussed their shared interests in aspects of the whale fishery and meteorology, elements which emerge in D’Arcy’s work.

Dr David Burt was a student of Zoology from the time of D’Arcy’s move to St Andrews in 1917, and then his Assistant from 1921-1924, before taking up a position as Lecturer in, and later Professor of, Zoology at the (then) Ceylon University College, Colombo. The two remained in contact during the rest of D’Arcy’s life and Burt returned from Ceylon in 1946 to take over running the Department of Natural History during D’Arcy’s last illness. He also spent the first seven years of his retirement refurbishing the Bell Pettigrew Museum in St Andrews as a labour of love for his friend and teacher.

Item Type: Conference or Conference Paper (Plenary)
Uncontrolled Keywords: D’Arcy Thompson
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Agriculture, Health & Environment Department
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Ecosystem Services Research Group
Last Modified: 17 Jul 2018 13:32

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