Stephen Jay Gould

Stephen Jay Gould


Stephen Jay Gould  was an American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and historian of science born on September 10, 1941, In New York, U.S

Family Background:

He was born to Leonard Gould and Leanor Gould. His father was a court stenographer while his mother was an artist.

Personal Life:

In 1965, He married Deborah Lee, a fellow student at Antioch College. They had two sons. In 1995, He married for the second time to artist and sculptor Rhonda Roland Shearer. He became a stepfather to her two children from a previous marriage.


In the 1960s, He had attended Antioch College and graduated with a double major in geology and philosophy in 1963. After that, He had gone to the University of Leeds. In 1967, He had completed graduate work at Columbia University under the guidance of Norman Newell.


In 1967, He had been employed by Harvard University soon after he graduated from Columbia University. He would teach there for several years until his death. He had been promoted as Professor of Geology and Curator of Invertebrate Paleontology at the institute’s Museum of Comparative Zoology in 1973. Starting from January 1974, his essays had been published in a series titled ‘This View of Life’ in the ‘Natural History’ magazine. The series ended in January 2001, after a continuous publication of 300 essays. In 1977, His first technical book, ‘Ontogeny and Phylogeny’ had been published. Gould and Richard Lewontin wrote a paper called ‘The Spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian paradigm’ in 1979. The paper introduced the architectural term ‘spandrel’ into evolutionary biology and elaborated on how living organisms are built. He had been made the president of the Paleontological Society for the session 1985-86. He had also been elected into the body of the National Academy of Sciences in 1989. In 1990-91, He had served as the president of the Society for the Study of Evolution. He had also served as the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science from 1999 to 2001.

In 1982, He had been first diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. He completely recovered after a difficult treatment and continued his scientific work. He became afflicted with a distinctive type of cancer after many years and died in 2002.

Unknown Facts:

  • Gould had been an award-winning book author of extraordinary fecundity.

Master Stroke:

  • He is best known for his theory of punctuated equilibrium which he developed with a fellow paleontologist, Niles Eldredge. The duo became issued a paper called ‘Punctuated Equilibria’ which is considered as the foundational document of the new paleobiological research.

Awards and Achievements:

  • In 2001, He had been named the Humanist of the Year by the American Humanist Association for his lifetime of work.
  • In 2008, He had been posthumously awarded the Darwin-Wallace Medal by the Linnean Society of London or “major advances in evolutionary biology”.

What can we learn from Him??

Like Stephen Jay Gould, Never give up on your bad time and situation. Believe in yourself and do your work smartly.

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