Posts tagged ‘Charles Darwin’

September 21, 2012

Alfred Russel Wallace Statue Commissioned

News Release from The Wallace Memorial Fund:

Discoverer of Natural Selection to finally get his statue (albeit 100 years late)

Statue of Alfred Russel Wallace to be commissioned for the Natural History Museum, 100 years after the project was scuppered by the First World War.

Alfred Russel Wallace was one of the greatest scientists of the nineteenth century and when he passed away aged 90 in November 1913 plans were soon underway to commemorate his remarkable life. Fundraising began for a statue to be displayed at the Natural History Museum in London, but within a few months this was scuppered by the outbreak of the First World War and the project had to be abandoned.

One-hundred years on, the Wallace Memorial Fund has been revived and is attempting to raise £50,000 GBP to commission a life-sized bronze statue which it will donate to the Natural History Museum. It would be unveiled on 7th November 2013, to commemorate the centenary of Wallace’s death. The piece would be sculpted by Anthony Smith; a zoology graduate-turned sculptor, who in 2009 created an acclaimed statue of Charles Darwin for Cambridge University.

The Wallace Fund has already received a generous donation of £10,000 GBP, but it needs to raise the remaining £40,000 GBP in just four months, in order to give the sculptor enough time to produce the work for the November 2013 unveiling.

British comedian Bill Bailey, the Wallace Memorial Fund’s Patron, who is a long-time admirer of Wallace, appealed to everyone who loves natural history and science for donations. “Wallace was a maverick genius who deserves much greater recognition for his brilliant discoveries.” He continues, “The statue will be seen by many of the 4.5 million people who visit the museum each year and it will help raise awareness of this extraordinary man.”

Bill Bailey at the Natural History Museum, London, with a painting of Wallace and some of Wallace’s specimens (© Janet Beccaloni).

Bill at the Natural History Museum, London, with a painting of Wallace
and some of Wallace’s specimens. © Janet Beccaloni

The Natural History Museum is planning a big celebration of Wallace’s life and scientific legacy called Wallace100 ( which will be launched in January 2013. Wallace100 will culminate with the unveiling of the statue in November. Many other museums and other organisations worldwide are also planning Wallace events; with conferences in London, New York, Mexico, Gibraltar and Sarawak, Malaysia; museum exhibitions in London, Oxford, Wales, the Netherlands, Singapore and Australia; plus several books; and at least one TV documentary.

For more information about the statue, including details of how to donate, visit the Wallace Fund’s website:

July 10, 2012

What Darwin Didn’t Know – The Video

From the BBC, via Carl Zimmer, via Why Evolution is True.

June 7, 2012

Inspired by Darwin

Set up by the Charles Darwin Trust (which was created by Darwin’s descendants), Darwin Inspired is an educational resource for teachers and children. From the website:

"Down House, Kent. 23 Aug, 2006"

Charles Darwin’s home – Down House, Kent. 23 Aug, 2006

The Charles Darwin Trust uses the intellectual and cultural heritage of Darwin, through his approach to science and his work at Down House and in the immediate countryside, to inspire a deeper understanding of the natural world.

We aim to:

  • promote a real understanding of the natural world to ensure that biodiversity and life on earth survive
  • improve and extend science literacy and the understanding of science
  • use Darwin Inspired teaching and learning to promote excellence in science education
  • enhance the understanding of Darwin’s historical and contemporary significance.
We achieve this through research and development of Darwin Inspired education materials, and through developing programmes for teachers and schools. These programmes are delivered through collaboration with major organisations and at Down House.
We aspire to improve public access on the web to the whole Darwin heritage. We are playing a leading role, with English Heritage and the Natural History Museum, in developing proposals for collaboration between all the main holders of Darwin material.
 There are resources for teachers (for students 7 year olds and up) as well as student resources. And don’t forget to subscribe the their blog.
October 26, 2011

Now Free…Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society

In a move to coincide with Open Access Week, The Royal Society of London has made its scientific journal archive available for free, FOR EVER!

Professor Uta Frith FRS, Chair of the Royal Society library committee, said: “I’m delighted that the Royal Society is continuing to increase access to its wonderful resources by opening up its publishing archives.  The release of these papers opens a fascinating window on the history of scientific progress over the last few centuries and will be of interest to anybody who wants to understand how science has evolved since the days of the Royal Society’s foundation.”

Treasures in the archive include Isaac Newton’s first published scientific papergeological work by a young Charles Darwin, and Benjamin Franklin’s celebrated account of his electrical kite experiment.  And nestling amongst these illustrious papers, readers willing to delve a little deeper into the archive may find some undiscovered gems from the dawn of the scientific revolution – including accounts of monstrous calves, grisly tales of students being struck by lightning, and early experiments on to how to cool drinks “without the Help of Snow, Ice, Haile, Wind or Niter, and That at Any Time of the Year.”

Henry Oldenburg writes in his introduction to the first edition: “…it is therefore thought fit to employ the Press, as the most proper way to gratify those, whose…delight in the advancement of Learning and profitable Discoveries, doth entitle them to the knowledge of what this Kingdom, or other parts of the World, do, from time to time, afford…”, going on to state that potential contributors are: “…invited and encouraged to search, try, and find out new things, impart their knowledge to one another, and contribute what they can to the Grand design of improving natural knowledge, and perfecting all Philosophical Arts, and Sciences.”

Read the complete article at The Royal Society, and begin exploring  fully searchable online archive. (Only articles over 70 years old are available free)

July 15, 2011

The VPRO Beagle Revisited

In the following video (click on link below) you can see the VPRO Beagle expedition as viewed through the eyes of Redmond O’Hanlon, with input from Sarah Darwin. Narrated in English by Redmond O’Hanlon. (50 min.)


May 21, 2011

Darwin’s Archipelago

Not the Galapagos…

The Darwin Archipelago–The Naturalist’s Career Beyond Origin of Species is a new book by Steve Jones, in which he examines Darwin’s lesser known works in biology. From the publisher (Yale University Press):

Charles Darwin is of course best known for The Voyage of the Beagle and The Origin of Species. But he produced many other books over his long career, exploring specific aspects of the theory of evolution by natural selection in greater depth. The eminent evolutionary biologist Steve Jones uses these lesser-known works as springboards to examine how their essential ideas have generated whole fields of modern biology.

Earthworms helped found modern soil science, Expression of the Emotions helped found comparative psychology, and Self-Fertilization and Forms of Flowers were important early works on the origin of sex. Through this delightful introduction to Darwin’s oeuvre, one begins to see Darwin’s role in biology as resembling Einstein’s in physics: he didn’t have one brilliant idea but many and in fact made some seminal contribution to practically every field of evolutionary study. Though these lesser-known works may seem disconnected, Jones points out that they all share a common theme: the power of small means over time to produce gigantic ends. Called a “world of wonders” by the Times of London, The Darwin Archipelago will expand any reader’s view of Darwin’s genius and will demonstrate how all of biology, like life itself, descends from a common ancestor†.

And the NCSE is offering a free preview.

† “…all of biology, like life itself, descends from a common ancestor.” Really? All of biology? A cute turn of phrase, but not true.

April 2, 2011

Carnival of Evolution

The 34th edition of the Carnival of Evolution is up at Quintessence of Dust. Visit now if you are interested in ‘junk DNA‘, complexity, perfection, variation, co-operation, willies and more (or less).


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