Economic historian Gregory Clark, a Glaswegian now at UC Davis, has been extending a main channel of British science into the 21st Century. His new book, The Son Also Rises: Surnames and the History of Social Mobility is another milestone in the revitalization of the human sciences after their long, self-inflicted dry spell in the later decades of the 20th Century.
One of the central concerns of British thinkers from the 18th Century into the mid-20th Century was the scientific study of breeding. The British agricultural revolution that began about three centuries ago led to the scientific breeding of livestock, including thoroughbreds. (Indeed, various meanings of the word “race” in English—a contest of speed, a lineage, and a breed—are related to the British passion for breeding racehorses.)