charles darwin birthday

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Happy Birthday to Charles Darwin! Born February 12, 1809, in Shrewsbury, England, Charles Darwin became one of the world’s most influential scientists. The Darwin Manuscripts Project has compiled full-color, high-resolution images of faithfully transcribed Darwin’s work.In these documents, you can trace the development of Darwin as a thinker and you will meet Darwin as a keen-eyed collector, an inspired observer, and a determined experimenter. You will also find Darwin the shrewd reader, attuned to his cultural context, and the strategic writer, ever reconsidering and revising. 

Explore the Darwin Manuscript Project here. 

Ideas...can only thrive when they are free
Charles Darwin/Evie Frye/Jacob Frye/Florence Nightingale
Ideas...can only thrive when they are free

Darwin: Well, look who’s here!

Evie: We were very worried about you, sir.

Jacob: You’re looking spry for a fossil, sir.

Darwin: A man’s friends are the best measure of his worth. I’m proud to count you among mine.

Evie: The danger’s passed, there’s no need to leave, sir.

Nightingale: What Mr. Darwin needs now is rest. To that end, he is joining his family on the Isle of Wight.

Darwin: Rest? Indeed! I shall start work on my next book!

Nightingale: I must insist that you recuperate quietly, sir.

Darwin: The acquisition of knowledge is in itself sufficiently recuperative. Go, tell her.

Jacob: This is one fight I aim to avoid, sir.

Darwin: Thank you for everything, my friends. Ideas, like people, can only thrive when they are free.

Happy birthday Charles Darwin!
☼ 12 February 1809 
† 19 April 1882

Happy Birthday, Charles Darwin!

The English naturalist was born February 12, 1809, and five decades later he published On the Origin of Species. Prompted by an article by Alfred Russel Wallace published in 1858, Darwin’s book introduced readers to an idea that would revolutionize human life as we understand it: the theory of evolution by natural selection.

Here are a few spots to learn more about Darwin’s life, scientific pursuits, and the continued influence of the theory of evolution by natural selection.

Happy Birthday, Charles Darwin!

On 24 November 1859 Charles Darwin published his monumental work On The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, changing the face of biology. Although he only used the word once at the very end of the book, the word evolve (and evolution) is synonymous with Darwin. The word evolve had been used in a scientific sense specifically in biology for over a hundred years before Darwin wrote Origin of Species-which is one reason why he avoided it. By the mid 1850s, the word had connotations of perfectibility-something Darwin wanted to avoid. It was the last sentence of his book:

There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

The word evolution arrived in English in 1620 and comes from the Latin word evolutionem(nomnative form evolutio) meaning the unrolling of a book or revealing that which was rolled up. The word evolve arrived a bit later in the 1640s from the Latin word evolvere meaning to unroll and could also pertain to other ‘hidden’ things (see also for example the etymology of vulva), but mostly meant books, when a ‘volume’ was a rolled up manuscript made from vellum. The modern meaning that scientists such ad Darwin meant for it began around 1832 and reached its first full expression in Darwin’s work.

Happy Birthday to Charles Darwin, born on this day, 1809.