Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Duke receives 50 years of Goodall's chimp research

Duke receives 50 years of Goodall's chimp research - Education - NewsObserver.com

Dr. Goodall speaking at Duke (Image via N&O)

Goodall's 50 years of uninterrupted chimpanzee behavior research is making its new home with Duke University. The collection that Goodall started in 1960 is being curated and digitized by Duke researchers.
As our women's basketball teams prepare to face off for a trip to the Final Four, I'd normally be cracking wise about Duke and its shortcomings, but can only praise them this morning. They're digitizing and archiving the work of one of my personal heroes.

We all learn about Galileo and Darwin, school as youngsters, or come to know about them and their work in popular culture, but the first scientist to really capture my interest and set me off on trying to learn more about her work and methods was Dr. Jane Goodall. I'm not sure if I was fascinated by chimps first, or came to be while reading about Dr. Goodall's work in Gombe in those old National Geographics, but my fascination with science, the scientific method, and even the my interest in epistemology and the philosophy of morality can largely be traced back to an appreciation of her extraordinary work. If those last two seem like a stretch, it's because they're just other ways of asking how do we know what we know and what do we with the knowledge we've gained. I like to think that when I want to learn about something, kind of like how in cartoons little angels and devils sit on the characters' shoulders and whisper in their ears, I've got a little Mr. Spock and a little Dr. Goodall that whisper in mine.
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