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An Appetite for Wonder : The Making of a Scientist - Richard Dawkins

An Appetite for Wonder

The Making of a Scientist

Paperback

Published: 23rd September 2013
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An early memoir from the world's most famous atheist, and scientist.

Born to parents who were enthusiastic naturalists, and linked through his wider family to a clutch 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 we join him on a personal journey back to an enchanting childhood in colonial Africa. There the exotic natural world was his constant companion. Boarding school in England aged 8, 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 colourful, 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 the Author

Richard Dawkins first catapulted to fame with his iconic book The Selfish Gene, which he followed with a string of bestselling books, including the phenomenal The God Delusion. Recently, he appeared in the BBC Four television series Beautiful Minds, revealing how he came to write The Selfish Gene and speaking about some of the events covered in this autobiography. He was a professor at Oxford University until 2008 and remains a fellow of New College. In 2013, Dawkins was voted the world's top thinker in Prospect magazine's poll of 10,000 readers from over 100 countries.

"Most geeks cannot write; this one can... Equipped with an undoubted gift for expression, Dawkins the writer comes with a unique pedigree" -- Richard Fortey Guardian "Lyrical... brilliant... Dawkins' style [is] clear and elegant" Financial Times "This eloquent, witty and instructive book reveals the true Richard Dawkins. It's a great read." A.C. Grayling "Throughout and as usual, Dawkins's writing is graceful, sparkling with anecdotes and wit" Eugenie Scott, Nature "Affirmative nostalgia suits [Dawkins], and so does the good humour that imbues his writing about home... The voice is familiar but the tone is new, and the result is some of his most pleasing prose... The clarity and passion with which he recalls his childhood is matched by the clarity, passion, concerns and imagery - fairness, bullying, kindness to animals - with which he expresses the values he has maintained since then... An Appetite for Wonder speaks eloquently about where his values and preoccupations came from... Warmly illuminating about the making of Dawkins the humanist." Marek Kohn, Independent

Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist, author and outspoken atheist. He has established himself as a biological guru with the publication of books detailing and expanding upon Darwinian theory. Wired Magazine says this "Revolutionary Evolutionist" is the first true ethologist of the gene. Richard Dawkins has been concerned to convince the literate public that they must now take evolutionary theory seriously as the context within which to think about ourselves and the world and he strives to bring his theories to an audience of lay readers through comprehensible analogies and clear writing.The Wall Street Journal said his "passion is supported by an awe-inspiring literary craftsmanship." The New York Times Book Review has hailed him as a writer who "understands the issues so clearly that he forces his reader to understand them too." Among his books are The Ancestor's Tale, The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker, Climbing Mount Improbable, Unweaving the Rainbow, A Devil's Chaplain,The God Delusion, and The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution.

Personal
Born March 26, 1941, son of Clinton John (a farmer) and Jean Mary Vyvyan (Ladner) Dawkins; married author Marian Stamp, August 19, 1967 (divorced, 1984); married Eve Barham, June 1, 1984 (divorced); children-Juliet Emma; married actress Lalla Ward, 1992. Education: Balliol College, Oxford University, B.A., 1962, M.A., 1966, D.Phil., 1966.

Career
University of California, Berkeley, assistant professor of zoology, 1967-69; Oxford University, Oxford, England, lecturer in zoology and fellow of New College, 1970-90, reader in zoology, 1990-95; Evolutionary biologist and the Charles Simonyi Professor For The Understanding Of Science at Oxford University; Elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in May, 2001.The Galaxy British Book Awards named him Author of the Year in 2006 for The God Delusion, and in 2008 his TV program 'The Genius of Charles Darwin' won Best Documentary Series at the British Broadcast Awards. He was listed as one of TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in 2007.

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ISBN: 9780593070901
ISBN-10: 0593070909
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 320
Published: 23rd September 2013
Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
Dimensions (cm): 23.2 x 15.3  x 2.7
Weight (kg): 0.48