Charles Darwin’s scientific ideas and their impact around his two hundredth birthday on 12 February 2009.

The celebrations began on 1 July, 150 years since Darwin and Wallace announced the theory that rocked science and society, and will continue until 24 November 2009, the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species.

Spy on garden snails for science, follow the clues that inspired Darwin’s theory or marvel at a two storey-high interactive Darwin curiosity cabinet – just a few of the activities you can take part in around the UK from over 200 exhibitions, talks, family events and performances.

Darwin evolution theory

Darwin in Galapagos

Charles Robert Darwin (1809–1882)

Charles Darwin came up to Cambridge as a student in 1827, when he was 18, having earlier had an unsatisfactory spell as a medical student at Edinburgh University. He was a member of Christ’s College. His father wished him to become a Clergyman and he was enrolled for a general degree which included the study of theology and mathematics. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1831.

As a student Darwin enjoyed Cambridge life to the full, hunting, collecting natural history specimens – especially beetles – and, with a group of like minds, forming the “Glutton Club”, a dining club devoted to eating “Birds and beasts which were before unknown to human palate”.

He made friendships which lasted the rest of his life, and also found some inspirational teaching, both formal and informal, in particular from John Stevens Henslow, Professor of Botany and Director of the Cambridge University Botanic Garden and Adam Sedgwick, Woodwardian Professor of Geology.

In 1831 Henslow was asked to suggest a suitable gentleman naturalist to sail with HMS Beagle on an admiralty surveying expedition to South America. Henslow recommended his recently graduated protégé, Charles Darwin. Despite initial opposition from his father, Darwin was on board when the Beagle set sail on 27 December 1831.

Henlsow and Darwin corresponded throughout the 5 year voyage as Darwin made many forays inland, with the Cambridge Teacher continuing to advise his former pupil on techniques for collecting specimens.

Henslow was the recipient and clearing house for volumes of specimens, presenting Darwin’s discoveries to learned societies in England. Many of these specimens remain in Cambridge University museum collections. In addition to specimens Darwin kept notebooks and diaries and wrote many letters. Darwin’s reputation as a serious naturalist preceded his return from the voyage and was confirmed when he began to draw conclusions from the material he had sent back to England, culminating much later in his theory of “natural selection” as the mechanism for species change. On his return to England in 1836 Darwin made an emotional visit to the family home in Shrewsbury and then returned to Cambridge to catalogue his material

Charles Darwin

Origin of species

Charles Darwin theory


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Formed by volcanic eruptions over millions of years, they are located a very remote 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador. These islands remain shockingly unspoilt and are where Charles Darwin invented the theory of evolution after studying the islands' many different species of Finches. Thus, the islands remain of high scientific importance. e fact they are located so far from the coast and weren't inhabited by humans until 150 years ago, has helped the hundreds of species of animals develop over 1000's of years without the slightest fear of human beings.This fearless wildlife is unmistakably one of the biggest reasons to visit as truly no where else on the planet will one encounter animals in their original, natural, wild habitat that are absolutely not bothered in the least by the presence of humans. In fact, in the case of land iguana, you have to be careful not to step on them because many just refuse to move!The species found on Galapagos are often endemic, meaning they cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Some of these include land tortoises, the Galapagos Penguin (the 2nd smallest in the world), land and marine iguanas, Darwin Finches, the famous Blue-footed Booby and it's cousin the Red-footed Booby.harks (Galapagos shark, white tipped shark and the extremely rare and fascinating Hammerhead, among others). For birds, a small sample include Frigates and its similar cousin the Cormorant, Flamingos, Pelicans, the enormous Albatross. The water is of course crystal clear and the snorkeling and diving there is among the best in the world (ask any expert!).