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Darwin200

February 12 is a significant day for biologists - it's the date of Charles Darwin's birth. This year it's a biggie - if the old gentleman was alive today he'd be 200. There are various commemorative events lined up all around the world, plus TV & radio programs, books & articles, and blogging galore. Here's an early contribution from David Quammen:

This year marks the 150th anniversay of the most incendiary book in the history of science, and, coincidentally, the 200th birthday of the mild-mannered Englishman who wrote it. Charles Darwin did not invent the idea of evolution, any more than Abraham Lincoln, who happens to share his birthday on February 12, invented the idea of freedom. What Darwin provided in The Origin of Species was a powerful theory for how evolution could occur through purely natural forces, liberating scientists to explore the glorious complexity of life, rather than merely accept it as an impenetrable mystery. "Nothing in biology makes sense, except in the light of evolution," the geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky wrote 36 years ago. That light, which began as a glimmer in the mind of a young naturalist aboard HMS Beagle, today casts a beam so bright we can read the very text of life by it. Darwin would be overjoyed to see how much he did not know, and how much we have yet to learn.

D. Quammen (2009) Darwin's first clues. National Geographic 215(2): 34-53

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5 Comments

It would be good to see a round-up of events planned/occurring for NZ - including any Church based events like the Darwin Sunday.

I agree - I just don't know where to start. You'd think that perhaps the Royal Society might keep track of what's going on around the country... I know the Allan Wilson Centre has a series of lectures planned, & Auckland Uni has an open public symposium on the 12th. We have a Cafe Scientifique on the 17th & there's also one over in Tauranga on the 23rd. But apart from that?

Thanks, Darcy - very much appreciated!

Thanks for the info about the Allan Wilson centre, that's not on the Darwin day website so I've added it to my blog.

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August 2013

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Recent Comments

  • Darcy Cowan: Thanks for the info about the Allan Wilson centre, that's read more
  • Alison Campbell: Thanks, Darcy - very much appreciated! read more
  • Darcy Cowan: Look here http://www.darwinday.org/events/listing.php or see my blog for just the read more
  • Alison Campbell: I agree - I just don't know where to start. read more
  • Ken: It would be good to see a round-up of events read more