12 Feb 2009

Happy 200 Darwin!

It's nice to notice a big anniversary for a scientist instead of the usual musician, artist, politician etc... And as a biologist I couldn't let this one pass, even if I don't have the time at the moment to wax on and on about "the father of evolution".

Agence France-Presse — Getty Image

First, a confession. I probably don't know much more about Darwin than anyone else not into the field of evolutionary studies... It's amazing that his ideas, theories etc are still being discussed, confirmed, denied after so much time. Nevertheless, to me, for years, he's just been a name, another landmark (albeit a BIG one in biology) in the history of science (one of my favourite subjects), one of the many scientific explorers from the 19th century of whom I'm insanely jealous because they got to live in a time when everything still felt (and was) new, heading out on year-long expeditions to discover and describe new species, new environments (then I remember that my sex probably would have blocked me from participating in any such expeditions and I'm glad to be a child of the 20th-21st centuries!). Reading up on Darwin is one of those many projects that I've been meaning to get around to for years now... and just never seem to do so! :p Both The Voyage Of The Beagle and On The Origin Of Species have been collecting dust on my bookshelf for over 5 years now, waiting to be read. And having read various articles out these days due to the anniversary (the NY Times science section has some very interesting ones) I'm probably a bit more likely to pick one or both of those volumes up and dust them off (but once I'm done with my thesis, I have plenty of similar books on the Antarctic to read first). So many books... so little time! ;o)


  1. Voyage of the Beagle and The Origin of Species are also dust-collectors on my shelves. Though, in our defense, the language in Origin of Species is not the easiest to read in long stretches. Poor Darwin.
    It sort of stinks that he never really meant to bring about a sort of scientific revolution and found himself the focal point of it, even after his death.

  2. Well looks like you've at least tried to read it, I haven't even gotten that far! :s
    Along the lines of renowned in spite of themselves... how 'bout Columbus?! Poor man died thinking himself a failure for not having found a path to India, when he had actually discovered a continent! (and they go and named said continent after someone else) :p

  3. Stupid Amerigo, stealing all the glory.


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