Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Charles Darwin

Charles Robert Darwin: b. 12 Feb, 1809 – d. 19 Apr, 1882

One of the great names in history on par with that of Einstein or Copernicus, his ideas changed our worldview at a fundamental level challenging us to think about ourselves and the universe we live in very differently.

On February 12th, 1809 C.E., Charles Robert Darwin was born in Shrewsbury, England. In 1831, he took his famous 5-year voyage aboard the HMS Beagle where he observed the dramatic variation of species in the Galapagos Islands- particularly the finches.

He did not invent the theory of evolution. The idea that species evolved (or "transmuted") from one for to another had been around for some time before Darwin. What he did was to document evidence for it better than anyone previously and work out a theory for how it functioned: the theory of natural selection.

At the same time, Alfred Russel Wallace came up with the same mechanism for evolution and nearly beat Darwin to the publishing house. Wallace graciously stepped aside to let Darwin take the lead in putting forth this theory to the world.

February 12th is Darwin Day. A day of celebration initiated by Darwin Day.org, a science education group, advocating the celebration of science- "our most reliable knowledge system."

Want to know more?
Click here (PDF) for a selection of articles, books, videos, and online resources about Darwin, natural selection, and evolution.