Thursday, February 9, 2017

Darwin Day

Biological Evolution
History of Science
by Edward Hessler (Evolution Ed)

The affinities of all the beings of the same class have sometimes been represented by a great tree...As buds dive rise by growth to fresh buds, and these if vigorous, branch out and overtop on all sides many a feebler branch, so by generation I believe it has been with the great Tree of Life, which fills its dead and broken branches the crust of the earth, and covers the surface with its ever branching and beautiful ramifications. —Charles Darwin, 1859

Darwin Day will be celebrated Sunday, February 12. Darwin and Abraham Lincoln share this birthdate in 1809.

Make a cake; light some candles!

Charles Darwin [Wikipedia]

The Center for Inquiry has an excellent list of resources worth browsing.

Sites I use fairly frequently on that list include the National Center for Science Education (evolution and climate change), Darwin Online, and the University of California-Berkeley's Understanding Evolution (an extraordinary resource on evolutionary biology for teachers, no for anyone wanting to understand major ideas in evolution). Less frequently I visit the Tree of Life sites (for clarifications of what I think I know as well as to delight in life's diversity).

Darwin Day is also an international event and for information about it see here.

If you've never read Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, here are two recommendations. The original is still a great read...

A few years ago one of our best science writers, David Quammen wrote an illustrated On the Origin of Species. You can take a peek inside. The book relies on the first edition (1859) for text but supplements it with readings from The Voyage of the Beagle and Darwin's Autobiography. It is profusely illustrated with period illustrations and modern photos of species that Darwin refers to.

Biologist James T. Costa bases The Annotated Origin on Darwin's 1859 masterpiece. It is profusely annotated by an working biologist and draws on long experience with Darwin's ideas in the field, laboratory and classroom.  It is filled with insights and perspectives that make this book all the more accessible.

And to see Darwin's original sketch of The Tree of Life I've chosen this one from the Wellcome Trust.

Happy birthday, Charles and thanks for this deep opening into how nature works. What a gift to us.

No comments:

Post a Comment