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Vassiliki (Betty) Smocovitis

Ph.D. Cornell University, 1988

617 Carr Hall
Personal Website

Research Interests

Studies the history, philosophy and social study of the twentieth century biological sciences, especially evolutionary biology, systematics, ecology and genetics. She also studies the history of the botanical sciences in America.

Much of my research concentrates on gaining a better understanding of the “evolutionary synthesis” which saw the establishment of the modern synthetic theory of evolution. I am presently completing a book-length project that is a biography of the botanical architect of the evolutionary synthesis G. Ledyard Stebbins as well as a centennial history of the Botanical Society of America.

Representative Publications

Smocovitis, V. B. “Humanizing Evolution: Anthropology, the Evolutionary Synthesis and the
Prehistory of Biological Anthropology (1927-1962).”  Current Anthropology 53 (2012).

Smocovitis, V. B. “Genetics Behind Barbed Wire: Masuo Kodani, Émigré Geneticists, and
Wartime Genetics Research at Manzanar Relocation Center, 1942-1945,” Genetics 187 (2011): 357-366.

Smocovitis, V. B. “Where are We? Historical Reflections on Evolutionary Biology in the
Twentieth Century. In M. Bell, D. J. Futuyma, W. F. Eanes, and J. S. Levinton eds. Evolution since Darwin. The First 150 Years, Sinauer Press, 2010, pp. 49-59.

Smocovitis, V. B. “The “Plant Drosophila”: E. B. Babcock, the genus Crepis and
the Evolution of a Genetics Research Program at Berkeley, 1912-1947.” Historical Studies of the Natural Sciences 39(2009): 300-355.

Smocovitis, V. B. “Singing His Praises: Darwin and His Theory in Song and Musical
Production,” Isis 100(2009): 590-614.

Smocovitis, V. B. “Mongrels and Hybrids: The Problem of Race in the Botanical World,” in
Paul Farber and Hamilton Cravens eds.  Race and Science. Scientific Challenges to Racism in
 Modern America. Oregon State University Press, 2009, pp. 81-92.

Smocovitis, V. B. “Darwin’s Botany in On the Origin of Species,” Michael Ruse and Robert J.
Richards. Eds. The Cambridge Companion to Darwin’s “Origin.” Cambridge University
Press, 2008.  Chapter 12, pp. 216-237.

Smocovitis, V. B. "One Hundred Years of American Botany: A Short History of the Botanical Society of America" American Journal of Botany 93 (2006): 1- 12.

Smocovitis, V. B. "Keeping Up with Dobzhansky: G. L. Stebbins, Plant Evolution and the Evolutionary Synthesis" History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 28 (2006): 11-50.

Smocovitis, V. B. "The 1959 Darwin Centennial Celebration in America.” Clark Elliott and Pnina Abir-Am eds. Commemorations of Scientific Grandeur. Osiris, 14 (1999): 274-323

Books (monograph and co-edited)

Hollowell, Victoria, V. B. Smocovitis, and Eileen Duggan editors, “’The Lady Slipper and I’” by G. Ledyard Stebbins. Missouri Botanical Garden Press, 2007. With an introduction by Vassiliki Betty Smocovitis.

Crawford, D. J. and V. B. Smocovitis, eds. The Scientific Papers of G. Ledyard Stebbins (1929-2000). Koeltz Scientific Books, Vienna, Austria 2004.

Smocovitis, V. B., Unifying Biology: The Evolutionary Synthesis and Evolutionary Biology. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996