Sandra Herbert, historian of science and author of the award-winning Charles Darwin, Geologist, spoke for the Library of Congress in February on the subject of Darwin and geology:
In “Charles Darwin, Geologist,” Herbert provides a fresh perspective on the life and accomplishments of Darwin, who was born on Feb. 12, 1809 (the same day as Abraham Lincoln) and whose thoughts and theories about the natural world hold true today — 150 years after the publication of his “On the Origins of Species by Means of Natural Selection” (London, J. Murray, 1859). While Darwin is best known for his voyage on the HMS Beagle, his study of finches on the Galapagos, and his theory of evolution, he had wider interests in the field of science, including geology. According to Herbert, “In the 19th century, geology attracted persons of imagination, like Darwin, because of its promise of knowledge of the distant past.” Herbert shows how Darwin’s study of geology and his developing ideas about geological systems profoundly shaped his creative insight and scientific methods as he worked toward an understanding of evolution and natural selection. “Charles Darwin, Geologist,” written largely at the Library of Congress, won the Geological Society of America’s Mary C. Rabbitt Award, the American Historical Association’s George L. Mosse Prize and the History of Science Society’s Levinson Prize for Historical Work in the Life Sciences as well as the Albion Book Prize given by the North American Conference on British Studies.
View the video here.