"If genius has any common denominator, I would propose breadth of interest and the ability to construct fruitful analogies between fields."
Stephen Jay Gould ( 1941–2002)
Medal 1982 (hon.)
A pioneering scientist, compelling essayist and engaging teacher, Stephen Jay Gould explained the complex field of evolutionary biology to a mass audience while pursuing serious research. He is perhaps best known for his writings including his monthly essays in Natural History and his books, among them Ontogeny and Phylogeny (1977), The Mismeasurement of Man (1981), Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History (1989) and The Structure of Evolutionary Theory, published two months before his death from cancer in May 2002. Called "paleontology's public intellectual" by a Harvard colleague, Gould was also well-versed in other subjects, particularly baseball, and his writings, abound with references to history, literature and music. Drawing on his research at Columbia, Gould, along with Niles Eldredge, challenged the gradualism of Darwinist evolutionary models with a theory of punctuated equilibrium in 1972.