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!


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.