Light micrograph of, spirulina platensis cyanobacteria (formally known as blue-green algae) filaments 30 November 2009 by Hywel Williams and Tim Lenton. In their introduction, Oren Harman and Michael Dietrich raise serious doubts about the possibility of defining a category of rebels or heretics in science. They are ready to re-emerge, as in the case of the discovery of reverse transcription by Howard Temin. We call this process an 'evolutionary regime shift where a rebel species causes the collapse of an established ecosystem and the formation of a new stable pattern of ecological order. Dr Hywel Williams is part of the Computational Biology Group, and Professor Tim Lenton is head of the Earth System Modelling Group, both at the University of East Anglia. Rebels in science are not born rebels; in the same way, revolutionary transformations in science emerge abruptly from scientific developments: they are not already in the lines of research that generated them. If this species has an environmental preference different to the evolved preferences of the established community, and if it also happens to move the environment towards its own optimum conditions, then we have a 'perfect storm' in evolutionary ecology: the new species grows rapidly, and. The originality of the book is also in the comparable size and format of the presentations.
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A good balance has been reached between a short biographical introduction and a longer presentation of the original work accomplished and the obstacles and opposition encountered. Human fossil fuel use has all the hallmarks of the disruptive rebel species we observe in our model: access to a previously unused resource leads to rapid growth, producing harmful environmental side effects. When Harman and Dietrich say that first the maverick must choose an important and relevant problem and if one single thing unites all the characters featured in this book, it is that they all exhibited stubbornness and steadfastness in their challenges to orthodox thought (p. New results or approaches that cannot be related to previous ones are rejected, but not forgotten. Are there more rebels in biology than in other sciences? Nutrient recycling loops readily emerge in our model, as they have on the Earth. As most of these rebels produced important results, it is a way to question the relations between rebellion and creativity in science. There is a cautionary note to be sounded from our research, moving away from abstract models of microbes and into the all-too-real world of anthropogenic climate change. Natural selection for advantageous feeding strategies creates communities that make efficient use of all available resources.
In the arts, from Mozart to van Gogh, creativity has frequently been associated with the artist's opposition to the society of their time. Looking at the Earth's history over very long timescales, it is clear that the evolution of new kinds of organism with different types of metabolism has transformed the biogeochemical cycles that support life on Earth. Both nutrient recycling and environmental regulation can be disrupted by rebel species. To be where people do not expect you is obviously a good strategy on the battlefieldnot always in science. Rebel organisms are newcomers that shake up the prevailing ecological order and can radically re-shape the environment. Such, for instance, was the case of Peter Mitchell, described by John Prebble and Bruce Weber, who succeeded in solving the problem of cell respiration, thus far considered as a purely biochemical problem, by importing models from membrane physiology. Issue Section: Yesterday's Rebels, you do not currently have access to this article.
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