Do Lemmings Commit Suicide?: Beautiful Hypotheses and Ugly Facts by Dennis ChittyDo Lemmings Commit Suicide?: Beautiful Hypotheses and Ugly Facts by Dennis Chitty

Do Lemmings Commit Suicide?: Beautiful Hypotheses and Ugly Facts

byDennis Chitty

Paperback | November 1, 1981

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In 1929, a group of scientists, including the author, working at the Bureau of Animal Population, Oxford University, began "the pursuit of the ecological Holy Grail", a scientific endeavor devoted to the search for the secret mechanisms behind biological life cycles as they occur in manyanimal populations. The results are presented here, in an account of science, not as it should be, but as it really is. Unlike nearly all science books which tell of successful ventures and satisfactory conclusions, this book reveals the harsher story of a scientific question left unanswered.Written by one of this century's most distinguished small mammal ecologists, it is both a personal history of and an apology for a life in science spent on research for which no final dramatic closure was reached. Included along the way are important anecdotes and history about Charles Elton and hispioneering work, from which much of modern population has grown, and insights on the philosophy and practice of science. Whether readers have an interest in population cycles, life sciences, or the history and philosophy of science, they will walk away with the inspiring notion that a life inscience without a Nobel Prize is still well worth living.
Dennis Chitty is a Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia.
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Title:Do Lemmings Commit Suicide?: Beautiful Hypotheses and Ugly FactsFormat:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 9.29 × 6.18 × 0.67 inPublished:November 1, 1981Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195097866

ISBN - 13:9780195097863

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. Pioneering Observations, 1929-19393. Qualitative Changes, 1937-19394. Wartime Rat and Mouse Control, 1939-19465. Replication, 1946-19516. Behavior, Physiologym and Natural Selection, 1949-19617. Controversies, 1952-19568. Varying the Circumstances, 1952-19599. From Wytham Woods to Baker Lake, 1959-196210. Synchrony, 1924-195911. Review, 1923-196112. Epilogue, 1961-1995

From Our Editors

In 1929, a group of scientists, working at Oxford University, began "the pursuit of the ecological Holy Grail", an endeavor devoted to the search for the secret mechanisms behind biological life cycles as they occur in many animal populations. By 1935, the group had become the Bureau of Animal Population and was joined for one year, part-time, by a newly minted graduate of the University of Toronto. Twenty-six years later, when he returned to Canada. Dennis Chitty had learned much about cycles and even more about the process of science. The results are presented here in an intriguing and often irreverent account of science, not as it should be, but as it was and is. Unlike many science books which tell of successful ventures and satisfactory conclusions, this book reveals the harsher but more common story of a scientific question left unanswered. Written by one of this century's most distinguished small-mammal ecologists, it is both a personal history and a vigorous defense of a life in pure science - even when no final dramatic closure was reached. Included along

Editorial Reviews

"spirited, often amusing book"--The Sciences