Classic textbook on evolution has Oswego author for 7th edition

PeterIn a tribute to a professional mentor, Dr. Peter A. Rosenbaum, a professor of biological sciences at SUNY Oswego, revised and updated the seventh edition of “Volpe’s Understanding Evolution,” recently issued by McGraw Hill.

Formerly just “Understanding Evolution,” the title now incorporates the name of the book’s original author, E. Peter Volpe, and Rosenbaum is listed as author.

As an undergraduate at Tulane University, Rosenbaum met Volpe, who later became his mentor and major professor for his doctorate. Rosenbaum said the two continued a strong personal and professional relationship up until Volpe’s death.

“As I promised him, I am trying to keep his book and name in print for as long as I can,” Rosenbaum said.

Rosenbaum’s involvement with the text began in 1999 in the preparation of the sixth edition, where he became co-author.

Early editions of the book in the 1960s had no competitors as a primary text for an introductory-level course on evolution or as a supplement to a more general course, Rosenbaum said. And it remains popular, he added, with “a large and faithful following.”

“‘Volpe’s Understanding Evolution’ has enabled generations of students to better appreciate the basic tenets of evolutionary biology, and thus this new edition rests on broad shoulders with high expectations,” Rosenbaum writes in the preface.

He explains that he rewrote and expanded the seventh edition to transmit new ideas in evolution arising from new discoveries in many fields, especially genetics.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Evolutionary understanding—SUNY Oswego biology professor Peter A. Rosenbaum presents a copy of his newly published textbook, “Volpe’s Understanding Evolution,” to Dr. Rhonda Mandel, dean of liberal arts and sciences at the college.

(Posted: Mar 31, 2010)

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