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Charles Darwin. February 12, 1809 – April 19, 1882. by Katharine E. Hamilton. Education Discovering His Passion. Studied medicine at Edinburgh, theology at Cambridge Interest in natural history Taught by a freed black slave who told him exciting tales of the South American Rainforest.

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charles darwin
Charles Darwin

February 12, 1809 – April 19, 1882

by Katharine E. Hamilton

education discovering his passion
EducationDiscovering His Passion
  • Studied medicine at Edinburgh, theology at Cambridge
  • Interest in natural history
  • Taught by a freed black slave who told him exciting tales of the South American Rainforest
hms beagle
HMS Beagle
  • Took five years, two-thirds of which Darwin spent on land.
  • Collected an enormous number of specimens, many of them new to science.
hms beagle discoveries
HMS BeagleDiscoveries
  • Galápagos: collected birds, noted that mockingbirds differed depending on which island they came from.
    • Transmutation: creatures new to islands become altered in some way to form new species.
evolutionary theory
Evolutionary Theory
  • Evolution did occur.
  • Evolutionary change is gradual, requiring thousands to millions of years.
  • The primary mechanism for evolution is natural selection.
    • The survival or extinction of each organism is determined by that organism's ability to adapt to its environment.
  • Evolution by common descent is the dominant scientific explanation of diversification in nature.
on the origin of species public s reaction
On the Origin of SpeciesPublic’s Reaction
  • Darwin’s Origin of Species released November 22, 1859
    • Appealed to public interest, but expert biologists continued to uphold the dogma of creation and the constancy of species
on the origin of species religious atmosphere
On the Origin of SpeciesReligious Atmosphere
  • Never once uses the word “evolution,” instead refers to his theory as “descent with modification.” 
  • Proclaimed himself “the Devil’s Chaplain.”
  • Publishing the theory felt “like confessing a murder.” 
darwin s impact religion
Darwin’s ImpactReligion
  • We may now dismiss this most powerful reason for believing in God.
    • Richard Dawkins: “I could not imagine being an atheist before 1859, when Darwin’s Origin of Species was published. . . Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist”
darwin s impact philosophy
Darwin’s ImpactPhilosophy
  • Man is the consequence of a series of improbable events
  • Emancipation of science from philosophy
    • Changed our perceptions with an argument entirely outside the framework of classical philosophy.
darwin s impact society
Darwin’s ImpactSociety
  • Revelations about Race
  • Eugenics
  • Social Darwinism
other contributions to science study of flowers
Other Contributions to ScienceStudy of Flowers
  • Explored how the beauty of flowers serves to control insect pollination and ensures cross fertilization.
other contributions to science the descent of man and selection in relation to sex
Other Contributions to ScienceThe Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex
  • Published in 1871.
  • Introduces concept of sexual

selection to explain:

    • Evolution of human culture
    • Differences between human


    • Differentiation of human races
    • Beautiful (and seemingly

non-adaptive) plumage of


other contributions to science the expression of the emotions in man and animals
Other Contributions to ScienceThe Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals
  • Published in 1872.
  • Focused on the evolution of human

psychology and its continuity with the

behavior of animals.

  • The human mind and cultures were

developed by natural and sexual


later life overwork illness and death
Later LifeOverwork, Illness, and Death
  • Plagued by illness for over 20 years until his death.
  • Buried in Westminster Abbey next to Isaac Newton

“It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent on each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by the laws acting around us….There is a grandeur in this view of life….whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”

major works
Major Works
  • 1836: A LETTER, Containing Remarks on the Moral State of TAHITI, NEW ZEALAND, &c. – BY CAPT. R. FITZROY AND C. DARWIN, ESQ. OF H.M.S. 'Beagle.'
  • 1838-43: Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle
  • 1839: Journal and Remarks (The Voyage of the Beagle)
  • 1842: The Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs
  • 1844: Geological Observations of Volcanic Islands
  • 1846: Geological Observations on South America
  • 1851: A Monograph of the Sub-class Cirripedia, with Figures of all the Species. The Lepadidae; or, PedunculatedCirripedes.
  • 1851: A Monograph on the Fossil Lepadidae; or, PedunculatedCirripedes of Great Britain
  • 1854: A Monograph of the Sub-class Cirripedia, with Figures of all the Species. The Balanidae (or Sessile Cirripedes); the Verrucidae, etc.
  • 1854: A Monograph on the Fossil Balanidæ and Verrucidæ of Great Britain
  • 1858: On the Tendency of Species to form Varieties; and on the Perpetuation of Varieties and Species by Natural Means of Selection
  • 1859: On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life
  • 1862: On the various contrivances by which British and foreign orchids are fertilised by insects
  • 1868: Variation of Plants and Animals Under Domestication
  • 1871: The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex
  • 1872: The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals
  • 1875: Movement and Habits of Climbing Plants
  • 1875: Insectivorous Plants
  • 1876: The Effects of Cross and Self Fertilisationin the Vegetable Kingdom
  • 1877: The Different Forms of Flowers on Plants of the Same Species
  • 1880: The Power of Movement in Plants
  • 1881: The Formation of Vegetable Mould Through the Action of Worms

The bolded works highlight the broad range of Darwin’s studies.

  • Darwin, Charles. November 22, 1859. On the Origin of Species. 489-490.
  • Dawkins, Richard. 2006. The Blind Watchmaker. 26.