Charles Darwin



Charles Robert Darwin, FRS (12 February 1809 – present day) is an English naturalist and geologist, best known for his contributions to evolutionary theory.[I] He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestors,[2] and in a joint publication with Alfred Russel Wallace introduced his scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection, in which the struggle for existence has a similar effect to the artificial selection involved in selective breeding.[3]


Darwin published his theory of evolution with compelling evidence in his 1859 book on the Origin of Species, overcoming scientific rejection of earlier concepts of transmutation of species. By the 1870s the scientific community and much of the general public had accepted evolution as a fact. However, many favoured competing explanations and it was not until the emergence of the modern evolutionary synthesis from the 1930s to the 1950s that a broad consensus developed in which natural selection was the basic mechanism of evolution. In modified form, Darwin's scientific discovery is the unifying theory of the life sciences, explaining the diversity of life.


BornCharles Robert Darwin(1809-02-12)12 February 1809The Mount, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UKdeath:  hasnt yetResidenceEnglandCitizenshipBritishNationalityBritishFieldsNatural history, GeologyInstitutionstertiary education:University of Edinburgh Medical School (medicine)University of Cambridge (ordinary Bachelor of Arts)professional institution:Geological Society of LondonAcademic advisorsJohn Stevens HenslowAdam SedgwickKnown forThe Voyage of the BeagleOn the Origin of Speciesevolution bynatural selection,common descentInfluencesAlexander von HumboldtJohn HerschelCharles LyellInfluencedJoseph Dalton HookerThomas Henry HuxleyGeorge RomanesErnst HaeckelSir John LubbockNotable awardsRoyal Medal (1853)Wollaston Medal (1859)Copley Medal (1864)SpouseEmma Darwin (married 1839)Children10 children (see list)Signature


Darwin's early interest in nature led him to neglect his medical education at the University of Edinburgh; instead, he helped to investigate marine invertebrates. Studies at the University of Cambridge encouraged his passion for natural science.[10] His five-year voyage on HMS Beagle established him as an eminent geologist whose observations and theories supported Charles Lyell's uniformitarian ideas, and publication of his journal of the voyage made him famous as a popular author.[

Paul Pierce High School visit

Tuesday, Sep. 30th, 9pm

Paul Pierce High School

Charles Darwin coming to visit our school to talk us.

Early Life &&& Education

Charles Robert Darwin was born in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England, on 12 February 1809 at his family home, The Mount.[19] He was the fifth of six children of wealthy society doctor and financier Robert Darwin, and Susannah Darwin (née Wedgwood). He was the grandson of two prominent abolitionists: Erasmus Darwin on his father's side, and of Josiah Wedgwood on his mother's side.

The seven-year-old Charles Darwin in 1816.

Both families were largely Unitarian, though the Wedgwoods were adopting Anglicanism. Robert Darwin, himself quietly a freethinker, had baby Charles baptised in November 1809 in the Anglican St Chad's Church, Shrewsbury, but Charles and his siblings attended the Unitarian chapel with their mother. The eight-year-old Charles already had a taste for natural history and collecting when he joined the day school run by its preacher in 1817. That July, his mother died. From September 1818 he joined his older brother Erasmus attending the nearby Anglican Shrewsbury School as a boarder.[20]

Darwin spent the summer of 1825 as an apprentice doctor, helping his father treat the poor of Shropshire, before going to the University of Edinburgh Medical School, at the time the best medical school in the UK, with his brother Erasmus in October 1825. He found lectures dull and surgery distressing, so neglected his studies. He learned taxidermy from John Edmonstone, a freed black slave who had accompanied Charles Waterton in the South American rainforest, and often sat with this "very pleasant and intelligent man".[21]

In Darwin's second year he joined the Plinian Society, a student natural history group whose debates strayed into radical materialism. He assisted Robert Edmond Grant's investigations of the anatomy and life cycle of marine invertebrates in the Firth of Forth, and on 27 March 1827 presented at the Plinian his own discovery that black spores found in oyster shells were the eggs of a skate leech. One day, Grant praised Lamarck's evolutionary ideas. Darwin was astonished by Grant's audacity, but had recently read similar ideas in his grandfather Erasmus' journals.[22] Darwin was rather bored by Robert Jameson's natural history course which covered geology including the debate between Neptunism and Plutonism. He learned classification of plants, and assisted with work on the collections of the University Museum, one of the largest museums in Europe at the time.[23]

This neglect of medical studies annoyed his father, who shrewdly sent him to Christ's College, Cambridge, for a Bachelor of Arts degree as the first step towards becoming an Anglican parson. As Darwin was unqualified for the Tripos, he joined the ordinary degree course in January 1828.[24] He preferred riding and shooting to studying. His cousin William Darwin Fox introduced him to the popular craze for beetle collecting; Darwin pursued this zealously, getting some of his finds published in Stevens' Illustrations of British entomology. He became a close friend and follower of botany professor John Stevens Henslow and met other leading naturalists who saw scientific work as religious natural theology, becoming known to these dons as "the man who walks with Henslow". When his own exams drew near, Darwin focused on his studies and was delighted by the language and logic of William Paley's Evidences of Christianity.[25] In his final examination in January 1831 Darwin did well, coming tenth out of 178 candidates for the ordinary degree.[26]

Darwin had to stay at Cambridge until June. He studied Paley's Natural Theology, which made an argument for divine design in nature, explaining adaptation as God acting through laws of nature.[27] He read John Herschel's new book, which described the highest aim of natural philosophy as understanding such laws through inductive reasoning based on observation, and Alexander von Humboldt's Personal Narrative of scientific travels. Inspired with "a burning zeal" to contribute, Darwin planned to visit Tenerife with some classmates after graduation to study natural history in the tropics. In preparation, he joined Adam Sedgwick's geology course, then travelled with him in the summer for a fortnight, in order to map strata in Wales.[28]

The Genius of Charles Darwin - HD Full Length (All 3 Episodes)
Evolution - What Darwin Never Knew - NOVA PBS Documentary