The Cycle of Life:
An History of Experimental Ecology

Sterling Memorial
Kline Sciences
Medical Historical
Exhibit Map

Erasmus Darwin, Zoonomia, 1794

Like many Nature Philosophers, Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802) understood the “cycle of life” as a universal law of nature. “this perpetual chain of causes and effect, whose first link is rivetted to the throne of God, divides itself into innumerable diverging branches. . . . As every cause is superior in power to the effect which it has produced, so our idea of the power of the Almighty Creator becomes more elevated and sublime, as we trace the operations of nature from cause to cause, climbing the links of these chains of being, till we ascend to the Great source of all things.” (p. 584)
Erasmus Darwin, Zoonomia, 1793
Charles Darwin, On the Formation of Vegetable Matter by Worms, 1881
Alexander von Humboldt, Cosmos, 1858
Dumas and Boussingault, Balance of Organic Matter, 1844
Ferdinand Cohn, Bacteria, The Smallest Living Beings, 1872
Louis Pasteur, Etudes sur la Biere, 1862
Selman Waksman, Sergei Winogradsky, 1953
Selman Waksman, Humus, 1939
Vladimir Vernadsky, Principles of Biogeochemistry, 1960
James Lovelock, An Homage to Gaia, 1985
Lloyd Ackert
Whitney Humanities Center
Yale University
53 Wall Street
P.O. Box 208298
New Haven, CT 06520-8298
Office: (203).432.3112

The Sterling Memorial Exhibit is located in the Overflow Case to the left of the circulation desk. The Sterling Memorial Library is located at

120 High Street
Yale University
New Haven, CT 06520
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