Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Souvenirs, Darwin, Dawkins, Von Baer, and Cash

On my last overseas trip (to the UK), I returned with two souvenirs. The first, which I bought from a bookstore, was an excerpt of Richard Dawkins' Climbing Mount Improbable, entitled The View From Mount Improbable. Climbing Mount Improbably is a linear thinking manifesto, equating living species with ancestral species, to sketch a linear march up a ladder of progress. The View From Mt Improbable is the chapter on eye evolution (my specialty). [To be fair to Dawkins, Ancestor's Tale, represents an outstanding way to teach tree thinking, so he is not all about linear thinking]. As far as I know The View From Mt Improbable cannot be purchased in the US, so I was ecstatic to be able to snatch one up and bring it home.

The second souvenir brings me to today's post. I returned with a Ten Pound Darwin note as my second souvenir. When Michael Barton left a comment here with a link to his outstanding blog devoted to Darwin, I noticed that he mentioned this Darwin note, one copy of which sits under glass in a display-case coffee table in our living room. Also linked on Michael's site is a pictorial collection of scientists on world currency. I find this fantastic, and I think I will try to collect these.

Also, I actually have a bill along side Darwin in my coffee table that is not pictured on the site linked above. Friends and colleagues who know I collect world currency for my display table often will donate to the cause. A Estonian postdoc who worked in my lab donated an Estonian bill with a picture of the famous developmental biologist Karl Ernst von Baer. He was German but worked at Tartu University in Estonia for a long time. Here is a scan of that bill. Now I need to go find out how to get an Israeli note with Einstein pictured on it!

2 comments:

Michael D. Barton, FCD said...

Thanks for the plug, Todd!

Bjorn said...

The Danish 500 kroner bill has Niels Bohr on it. Unfortunately, that's about $100, so I can't promise I'll bring you one next time I go.