Seen sitting below the SeaTrek-recreated Wallace Research Hut, Dr. George Beccaloni shows his enthusiasm for the book The Malay Archipelago, written by one of his heroes Alfred Russel Wallace, the 19th century naturalist and explorer who proposed the theory of evolution by natural selection in tandem with Charles Darwin.
George Beccaloni is a zoologist, evolutionary biologist and historian of science, who worked at London’s Natural History Museum (NHM) for more than 20 years on butterflies and other insects. He enjoys natural history photography and travel and has visited Indonesia many times, including as ship’s naturalist on multiple SeaTrek tours. George has studied Wallace’s life and work for more than 20 years and is the founder and Director of the Wallace Correspondence Project. In 1999 he set up the Wallace Memorial Fund, which restored Wallace’s grave in Dorset and paid for several memorials to him, including a magnificent bronze statue now in the NHM.
George has published a number of articles about Wallace and co-edited the book Natural Selection and Beyond: The Intellectual Legacy of Alfred Russel Wallace. He was the Historical Consultant for Bill Bailey’s Jungle Hero, an award-winning two-part BBC series about Wallace, and he helped the Folio Society produce the first ‘deluxe’ edition of Wallace’s famous travelogue The Malay Archipelago. Most importantly for you, he loves to share his childlike enthusiasm for natural history.
In May 2023 he had the honour of being elected President of the General Section of the British Science Association's (BSA) Science Festival for 2023. Past Former Presidents of this section include luminaries such as Douglas Adams, Jonathan Miller, Roger Bannister. Wallace was President of the Biology Section of the BSA (then called the British Association for the Advancement of Science) in 1876.