Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Darwin Day

Darwin Day is a global celebration of science and reason held on or around February 12, the birthday anniversary of evolutionary biologist Charles Darwin (1809-1882).

Image: Charles Darwin, watercolour, late 1830s, via Encyclopedia Britannica.

Darwin was an English naturalist whose theory of evolution by natural selection became the foundation of modern evolutionary studies. An affable country gentleman, Darwin at first shocked religious Victorian society by suggesting that animals and humans shared a common ancestry. However, his nonreligious biology appealed to the rising class of professional scientists, and by the time of his death evolutionary imagery had spread through all of science, literature, and politics. Darwin, himself an agnostic, was accorded the ultimate British accolade of burial in Westminster Abbey, London.

Darwin formulated his bold theory in private in 1837–39, after returning from a voyage around the world aboard HMS Beagle, but it was not until two decades later that he finally gave it full public expression in On the Origin of Species (1859).

Read more on the International Darwin Day Foundation's website, browse Project Gutenberg for Darwin's writings, or search our library catalog for Charles Darwin!

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