Visiting Assistant Professor | History of Science
From the moment he received his first dinosaur book at five years of age, he has been concerned with evolutionary biology and scientific epistemology. (Granted, he didn't learn those terms until much later.) Why do we think what we think regarding evolution? Why do people get so upset at certain kinds of answers? How do the social implications of the theory change as the theory itself mutates?
Professor Peterson's research focuses on the history and philosophy of biology from the 17th century through the 20th. He has written on the turn of the 20th century standoff between evolutionists who called themselves Darwinians and those evolutionists who did not. More recently, he has turned his sites on the critical decades from 1925 to 1945 and the exchanges between biologists and social scientists in the United States and Great Britain, France, and Germany. In 2015, he will be co-editing a special edition of Science & Education on the 150th anniversary of Gregor Mendel's Versuche über Pflanzenhybriden.
Special interests and recent research:
History of Science (Antiquity to Scientific Revolution; Scientific Revolution to Present), Philosophy of Science, Biology, Anthropology
"William Bateson from Balanoglossus to Materials for Study of Variation: The Transatlantic Roots of Discontinuity and the (un)naturalness of Selection," Journal of the History of Biology, 41:2 (2008), 267-305.
Erik currently teaches ILS 202 in Fall 2011.