About An Appetite for Wonder: The Making of a Scientist
Born to parents who were enthusiastic naturalists, and linked through his wider family to a group of accomplished scientists, Richard Dawkins was bound to have biology in his genes. But what were the influences that shaped his life and intellectual development? And, who inspired him to become the pioneering scientist and public thinker now famous (and infamous to some) around the world?
In An Appetite for Wonder, Dawkins writes of his personal journey back to an enchanting childhood in colonial Africa where an exotic natural world was his constant companion. Boarding school in England, and later, public school at Oundle introduce him, and the reader, to strange rules and eccentric school masters vividly described with both humorous affection and some reservation. An initial fervent attachment to Church of England religion soon gives way to disaffection and, later, teenage rebellion. Early signs of a preference for music, poetry and reading over practical matters become apparent as he recalls the opportunities that entered his small world. Oxford, however, is the catalyst to his life. Vigorous debate in the dynamic Zoology Department unleashes his innate intellectual curiosity; and inspirational mentors together with his own creative thinking ignite the spark that results in his radical and new vision of Darwinism, The Selfish Gene. From innocent child to charismatic world-famous scientist, Richard Dawkins paints a colorful, richly textured canvas of his early life. Honest self-reflection and witty anecdote are interspersed with touching reminiscences of his best-loved family and friends, literature, poetry and songs. We are finally able to understand the private influences that shaped the public man who more than anyone else in his generation explained our own origins.
About Richard Dawkins
Born in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1941, Professor Richard Dawkins is one of the world’s leading scientific intellectuals, specializing in evolutionary biology. After undertaking his doctorate under the instruction of Nobel-prize winning ethologist Niko Tinbergen at UC Berkeley, he was appointed Assistant Professor of Zoology at UC Berkeley in 1967. Dawkins returned to Oxford University, where he earned his degree, before becoming a fellow at New College, Oxford in 1970.
Professor Dawkins is an enormously successful writer. His first book, The Blind Watchmaker, published in 1976, was a huge success and has since been translated into thirteen languages worldwide. His other books include: The Extended Phenotype (1982), The Selfish Gene (1989), River Our of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life (1995), Climbing Mount Improbable (1996), Unweaving the Rainbow (1997), A Devil’s Chaplain (2003), The Ancestor’s Tale (2004) and The God Delusion (2006).
He has won countless awards and regularly lectures around the world. He widely accredits Charles Darwin as having a profound influence on his life and work, commenting in an interview with The National Geographic Channel Online that Darwin was “the founder of really everything that I do…whereas some people make a discovery and they stumble upon it, Darwin devoted himself to making his theory clear, to listing all the evidence and spending decades of his life gathering the evidence so no one could doubt it.”