Tagged: Charles Darwin

On nothing, and on what Darwin did, apart from go on a sea voyage

If you didn’t come to our meeting on 9th July, you didn’t miss much. We were going to watch a video of a lecture by physicist Lawrence Krauss, about how everything comes from nothing, but unfortunately Denis’s laptop ate it. Instead, he found a video about Charles Darwin’s life story. Later, I was surprised to hear someone say that he hadn’t realised what Darwin had done, apart from his trip...

Wallace Day – you missed it

Yesterday was Darwin Day. It’s not officially recognised, yet, though some people here and in America would like it to be. There’s even talk of making it a public holiday, in recognition of Darwin and his work. But if 12th February is Darwin Day, the 8th January should be Wallace Day, in recognition of the equally important work done by Alfred Russel Wallace, who worked out the theory of Natural...

“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge” – Charles Darwin

Darwin and his cousin

The naturalist Charles Darwin was born 203 years ago today, Darwin Day.

In his book, On the Origin of Species, Darwin set out what is probably the most important idea in the history of science. He reasoned that plants, animals and all living things are not static and unchanging, remaining as they were made by a divine creator; instead they change subtly from one generation to the next and those that are better suited to whatever environment they find themselves in prosper and reproduce more, while those that are less well suited don’t. In this way, plants and animals gradually change, eventually developing into new species and producing the huge variety of nature that we see today. Darwin’s theory, evolution by natural selection, is at the root of our understanding about life on Earth: it explains why there is such diversity in nature, why we are here, and why we are as we are.

On the Origin of Species was published in 1859, yet there are still many who reject evolution as an explanation for how we came to be here, prefering the Biblical story of Genesis or another creation myth – there are many – and there are still too many children leaving school ignorant of the theory of evolution.

For more on evolution and ‘Intelligent Design’ (Creationism in another form) click here for our article, We’re all Monkeys.

A Visit to Down House

I’m not one for traipsing round stately homes, being of the opinion that once you have seen one Queen Anne chair and polished mahogany table you have seen them all. However, when the Woodbridge U3A group planned a visit to Down House – the home of Charles Darwin – I thought this might well be worth a visit. And indeed it was.

The house is important because it was there that Darwin not only wrote his masterpiece, On the Origin of Species, but applied scientific reasoning and performed numerous experiments to confirm that his ideas were sound.

The time scales are surprising. Darwin moved into the very substantial Down House in 1842, but this was a full five years after his journey on the Beagle. Perhaps, even more surprisingly, it was only after another seventeen years of reflection (and probably worry) on what he had observed on that voyage that Darwin published his greatest work.

Re:Design – Charles Darwin & Asa Gray on stage

Terry Molloy as Darwin150 years after Charles Darwin first presented his theory to fellow scientists and amidst year-long Darwin celebrations in 2009, Re:Design is a fascinating and timely dramatisation of 30 years correspondence between Charles Darwin, Kent, England and Asa Gray in Boston, USA.

37 million years ago

37 million years agoThe Open University has a neat toy on its Darwin bi-centennial site. If you upload a photo of yourself, you can morph into someone who lived 37 million years ago. This is me. It’s not flattering, but a 37 million-year-old man might think I’m gorgeous.

Animal tales at Ipswich Museum

To celebrate Darwin’s birth, Ipswich Museum is offering “funny, exciting and thoughtful tales inspired by animals and Darwin’s discoveries” for children over half term – Tuesday 17th to Friday 20th February.

Darwin Day exhibit

We’ve hired a display case at the entrance to Ipswich Central Library for the week including Darwin Day (12th February), the bicentenary of the birth of Charles Darwin.

Offers of help to set it up welcome.