Peter J. Bowler

This article is about the historian of science. For other people, see Peter Bowler.
Peter J. Bowler at the 2007 History of Science Society meeting

Peter J. Bowler (born 8 October 1944)[1] is a historian of biology who has written extensively on the history of evolutionary thought, the history of the environmental sciences, and on the history of genetics. His 1984 book, Evolution: The History of an Idea is a standard textbook on the history of evolution, and was substantially revised in 2003 and a 25th anniversary edition came in 2009. His 1983 book The Eclipse of Darwinism: Anti-Darwinian Evolution Theories in the Decades Around 1900 describes the scientific and social challenges to Darwinism which led many to abandon the theory in the first part of the twentieth century.


Peter Bowler holds a BA from the University of Cambridge, an MSc from the University of Sussex and a PhD from the University of Toronto. In the 1970s he taught at the School of Humanities, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang. He is currently a professor in the history of science at Queen's University Belfast, and is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a corresponding member of the Académie Internationale d'Histoire des Sciences. He was President of the British Society for the History of Science 2004-6.[2]

His current interests are in the development and implications of Darwinism, the history of the environmental sciences, science and religion (especially twentieth century), and popular science writing. Current research is on the production of popular science literature in early twentieth-century Britain, with particular emphasis on the role played by professional scientists.[2] Bowler discusses the attempts by Victorian scientists to promote science for public understanding and the increasing accessibility of popular science works.[3]

Bowler has criticised creationism in Northern Ireland. He has made appearances on local radio, including interviews with William Crawley on BBC Radio Ulster shows TalkBack and Sunday Sequence - here he defended evolution and highlighted the non-scientific nature of creationism.[4][5]



  1. BOWLER, Prof. Peter John, Who's Who 2015, A & C Black, 2015; online edn, Oxford University Press, 2014
  2. 1 2 Peter Bowler's QUB staff page
  3. 1 2 PJ Bowler Science For All, Chicago Univ Press 2009
  4. BBC Radio Ulster TalkBack, broadcast 15 September 2008
  5. BBC Radio Ulster Sunday Sequence, broadcast 2 December 2007
  6. Darwin Deleted: Imagining a World Without Darwin, 2013
  7. Darwin: Off The Record,2010
  8. Darwin's Originality, in Science, 9 January 2009

External links

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