Conrad Hal Waddington FRS FRSE (1905 - 1975), known to his friends as "Wad", was a developmental biologist, paleontologist, geneticist, embryologist and philosopher. He also laid the foundations for systems biology, and had wide interests that included poetry and painting, as well as left-wing political leanings.
His personal papers are largely kept at Edinburgh University library. Contents
The Epigenetic Landscape
Waddington's epigenetic landscape is a metaphor for how gene regulation determines development. One is asked to imagine a number of marbles rolling down a hill towards a wall. The marbles will compete for the grooves on the slope, and come to rest at the lowest points. These points represent the eventual cell fates, that is, tissue types.
Waddington also coined other essential concepts, such as canalisation, which refers to the ability of an organism to produce the same phenotype in various different environments.
Waddington tried to reconcile Jean-Baptiste Lamarck's ideas on the inheritance of acquired characters with modern biology, with moderate success.