Great news from The HMS Beagle Project

I heard this from Karen at Science Online 2011 over the weekend, but she now announces on the Beagle Project Blog that they have received a substantial donation, and plan to “hire a full-time professional fundraiser and 2) re-launch the project in the form of a new website and new marketing, fundraising and communications mechanisms.”

Congratulations!

And if you, dear reader, have not yet donated, I can only ask, Why not?

Some links…

Love in the Time of Chasmosaurs: Vintage Dinosaur Art: The Gishosaurs

Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution wins the Royal Society’s Science Book Prize

VIDEO – The Poetry of Science: Richard Dawkins and Neil deGrasse Tyson:

Sandwalk: Dispatches from the Evolution Wars

Sandwalk: The National Science Foundation Version of “Understanding Evolution”

Galapagos Live: Introducing Galapagos 2.0 & The Beagle Project Blog: In Galapagos!

The Red Notebook: People want to see the Beagle

Two interviews with Laelaps’ Brian Switek, author of the soon-to-be-released Written in Stone: Evolution, the Fossil Record, and Our Place in Nature

Clips from the new documentary First Life from David Attenborough, plus:

History of geology: Dragons and Geology

BBC Audio Slideshow: Jurassic woman (Mary Anning)

History of Science Centre’s blog: A note on transactions and Ubi Crookes Ibi Lux

The Bubble Chamber: Can History and Philosophy of Science be Applied in Socially Relevant Ways? and Planet Earth through Disney’s Lens

From the Hands of Quacks: For the Maker of the Stars: The Cultural Reception of Print

Whewell’s Ghost: Mr. X

History of science blog: Evocative objects

Darwin and Gender: The Blog: The Reluctant Bride Groom?

Darwin Correspondence Project: Alison Pearn to discuss ‘Darwin’s Women’ at Wesleyan University

Charlie’s Playhouse blog: Irresistible contest entry

Natural History @ 100: The Smithsonian/Roosevelt African Expedition 1909-1910

Ptak Science Books: Phantom in the Opera: Questions about Darwin and Einstein and Music

Robert Kohler reviews Steven Shapin’s Never Pure: Historical Studies of Science as if It Was Produced by People with Bodies, Situated in Time, Space, Culture, and Society, and Struggling for Credibility and Authority for Science

Melanie Keene reviews Peter Bowler’s Science for All: The Popularization of Science in Early Twentieth-Century Britain in Centaurus

Skinny Marinky Linky Links

National Library of Australia: Books and their owners: a tiny link with the past:

Joseph Dalton Hooker (who features in Creation) was most certainly not a beetle-collecting vicar, but a distinguished scientist in his own right. A tiny link with him surfaced in the NLA collections recently. Hooker was Darwin’s lifelong friend and confidant, and encouraged him to publish his Origin of Species. Hooker himself had a fascinating life, travelling on scientific expeditions to the Antarctic, the Himalayas, India, the Middle East and the US western states. He became director of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, writing and publishing until well into his 90s. He died in 1911 at the age 0f 94.

petri dish: a child’s-eye view of charles darwin:

This isn’t a perspective on the history of science with which I’m particularly comfortable, as it draws a veil over the hard work of how scientific knowledge emerges, is debated, and then rendered authoritative in a dynamic interplay along many dimensions. And it does, again, tend to make for a “safe” presentation of Darwin and science, rehabilitating him, perhaps, from invidious perspectives that have convinced many that the word “Darwin” is synonymous with hidden agendas that aim to hijack scientific thought for the purpose of destroying faith in God on dishonest pretenses. A depiction of a robust and engagingly curious young Charles who is almost a blank slate, aside from his fondness for be[e]tles — indeed, who is an orthodox believer at the start of the voyage — as an alert conduit for Nature’s empirical truth is hard to square with a vision of a sinister and conniving Darwin out to dupe the devout as the devil’s chaplain. There’s an undertone of scientific apotheosis that I’m not eager to pass along with lessons on evolution if that’s what comes along with a child’s-eye view of Charles Darwin.

Darwin’s Intergalactic Adventure:

Guardian Science Blog: The Beagle, the astronaut and a party in Brazil put the awe back into science:

“Space stations, square riggers and marine biology: science does not get more exciting than this, and we need to get the inquiring young minds of today excited by science,” Barratt said. “The ISS circling the world while a scientific square rigger with Beagle’s pedigree rounds Cape Horn, making new discoveries at sea and on land, streaming footage back to labs and classrooms will be a great way to welcome young minds into the excitement and adventure of science.”

Darwin would have been proud.

Chronicle Herald: Thomas creates wonderful world, characters in pre-Darwin Britain:

One of Thomas’s greatest strengths in the novel is her ability to make us see the world from the eyes of people who do not know the concept of evolution — Anning’s astounding fossil finds were made years before Darwin’s ideas were published. The ideas of intellectuals and peasants alike were contained within a framework of theology and limited science. It was not until 12 years after Anning’s premature death, at the age of 47, that Darwin published On The Origin of Species in 1859. So the world in which Mary found the ammonites and “bezoars,” which she sold to wealthy tourists visiting her hometown of Lyme Regis, England, was one in which there was not an extensive scientific understanding or explanation for the fossils.

The HMS Beagle Project still needs your support!

From Peter:

We are working flat out to see that the country that gave the world HMS Beagle and all the discoveries that flowed from her decks and crew has a sailing replica of this great ship too. We know times are tight, but if you have £5 million to spare there is little better you could do to help lighten the nationally austere mood than by helping us build and launch a sailing replica of the ship that changed the world.

If you have not donated what you can to this cause, go here. If you happen to know someone with a spare £5 million, go here.

HMS Beagle made from two Darwins (photo by A. Faherty)

HMS Beagle made from two Darwins (photo by A. Faherty)

Ismo!

I learned today at the volunteer/intern orientation that in the olden days (1950s), the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry had a spaceman mascot, named Ismo (OMSI backwards).

Ismo

Ismo (click on image for source of photo)

Science is fun, Ismo! But who needs such a silly-looking mascot when OMSI has its own astronaut and OMSI kid:

Michael Barratt, OMSI kid

Michael Barratt, OMSI kid

Barratt, I should note, has ties with The HMS Beagle Project.

Wednesday we leave for a trip to California to see both of our families and a few days in Yosemite National Park (I’ve never been), and I will start interning at OMSI in mid-June, with the Einstein exhibit coming later in that month. In the meantime, I’ve some Tyndall letters to finish up, and reading Walter Isaacson’s Einstein: His Life and Universe.

Cambridge Trip #10: Natural History Museum, London

Tuesday, 12 July 2009

This morning I left Cambridge. I just want to make note of one of the books that sat on the nightstand in my bed and breakfast room:

Books in my room, Cambridge, England

Books in my room, Cambridge, England

That book on top is Period Piece by Gwen Raverat. Raverat was a granddaughter of Charles Darwin, and Period Piece is her memoir about her childhood in Cambridge, and recollections of the Darwin family.

Walking from my lodgings to the train station, I passed by the entrance to the Cambridge University Botanic Garden. This, along with the Darwin and art exhibit Endless Forms at the Fitzwilliam Museum, is one of the places I wanted to visit but missed (the botanic garden has an exhibit on Darwin and carnivorous plants).

Cambridge University Botanic Garden

Cambridge University Botanic Garden

Cambridge University Botanic Garden

Cambridge University Botanic Garden

As I walked from the garden entrance to the train station, one of the wheels on my bag busted off. No good. At times I carried it and other times I just let the one side of the bag drag on the ground – it depended on the condition of the sidewalks: smooth or higgledly-piggledly. When on the train from Cambridge to London, the train’s power failed while in a  tunnel and we sat there for about 20 minutes. Remember that on the tube in London when heading to King’s Cross Station on my first day in England the track failed, leading to my regretting the decision to use the stairs rather than the elevator to get above ground. To and fro did not treat me well on this trip, but while I was at my destinations everything was great!

Before getting to Heathrow Airport, I decided to get off at the South Kensington station to quickly visit Karen James at the Natural History Museum (whom I had also seen in Cambridge). Turns out she was too busy with meetings, but I got to walk around the museum for about an hour, picked up a few souviners, and met up with another good friend. I was surprised at how many visitors there were in the museum. While that is understandable given the free admission, a  girl working in the museum store told me that this day was rather slow, because school had not yet let out. Here are some photos from my visit to NHM:

Natural History Museum, London

Natural History Museum, London

Butterfly Jungle, Natural History Museum, London

Butterfly Jungle, Natural History Museum, London

Natural History Museum, London

Natural History Museum, London

After Darwin: Contemporary Expressions, Natural History Museum, London

After Darwin: Contemporary Expressions, Natural History Museum, London

After Darwin: Contemporary Expressions was open but I hadn’t the time:

In After Darwin: Contemporary Expressions, major artists and writers exhibit newly-commissioned and existing work, inspired by Charles Darwin’s book, The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. Their pieces explore Darwin’s theory that expressing emotion is not unique to humans, but is shared with animals.

Natural History Museum, London

Natural History Museum, London

Ammonite fossil, Natural History Museum, London

Ammonite fossil, Natural History Museum, London

Tree (Darwin-inspired ceiling art), Natural History Museum, London

Tree (Darwin-inspired ceiling art), Natural History Museum, London

Darwin Shop, Natural History Museum, London

Darwin Shop, Natural History Museum, London

Darwin Shop, Natural History Museum, London

Darwin Shop, Natural History Museum, London

Darwin Shop, Natural History Museum, London

Darwin Shop, Natural History Museum, London

At the Darwin Shop I picked up coffee mug with Darwin’s tree of life sketch on it, and Kristan Lawson’s Darwin and Evolution for Kids: His Life and Ideas with 21 Activities:

Darwin Mug from Natural History Museum, London

Darwin Mug from Natural History Museum, London

Darwin and Evolution for Kids by Kristan Lawson

Darwin and Evolution for Kids by Kristan Lawson

I took pictures of the other books I got during the trip, and all the Darwin literature (brochures, postcards, etc.).

Marine Reptiles, Natural History Museum, London

Marine Reptiles, Natural History Museum, London

Plesiosaur, Natural History Museum, London

Plesiosaur, Natural History Museum, London

Diplodocus (Dippy), Natural History Museum, London

Diplodocus ("Dippy"), Natural History Museum, London

About this statue, which replaced a statue of Richard Owen at the top of the stairs:

The Darwin statue was created by Sir Joseph Boehm and was unveiled on 9 June 1885. In 1927 it was moved to make way for an Indian elephant specimen, and then moved again in 1970 to the North Hall. The statue’s return to its original prime position is in time for the anniversary of Darwin’s birth 200 years ago, and for the start of the programme of Darwin200 events.

Darwin statue, Natural History Museum, London

Darwin statue, Natural History Museum, London

Darwin statue, Natural History Museum, London

Darwin statue, Natural History Museum, London

It says:

“Freedom of thought is best promoted by the gradual illumination of men’s minds, which follows from the advance of science.”

Charles Robert Darwin (1809-1882)

Dedicated by The Rt Hon Andrew Burnham MP. Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport, on the bicentenary of Charles Darwin’s birth, 12 February 2009

Darwin statue, Natural History Museum, London

Darwin statue, Natural History Museum, London

This is my favorite photo from the NHM:

Darwin reflecting on mans ancestry, Natural History Museum, London

Darwin reflecting on man's ancestry, Natural History Museum, London

Darwins view, Natural History Museum, London

Darwin's view, Natural History Museum, London

And of course, me with the man who gave reason for my trip to Cambridge:

Darwin & Me, Natural History Museum, London

Darwin & me, Natural History Museum, London

Woolly Rhino, Natural History Museum, London

Woolly Rhino, Natural History Museum, London

Toxodon, Natural History Museum, London

Toxodon, Natural History Museum, London

Here is the last photograph I took on the trip:

South Kensington station, London

South Kensington station, London

Made my way to Heathrow, got lunch, damn near missed my flight, flew to Minneapolis, bumped into George from the American Computer Museum in Bozeman there (we were on the same flight), and after a delay flew home to Bozeman. And that was that. Not bad for my first trip out of the United States. I will be going to London this fall for a research trip (archives at the Royal Insitution and Kew Gardens), and will spend more time at the Natural History Museum and – how can I not! – visit Down House, Darwin’s home and laboratory for four decades. If the Darwin biopic Creation (check out the very cool flash website) has not opened in the states yet, I will hopefully see it in London.

The HMS Beagle Project has recently started doing podcasts. The second episode features Karen and Richard, and they both talk about their time with me in Cambridge. Karen said my trip to Cambridge was my Mecca. You can listen to it here.

You can view all the photos from my trip here, if you feel so inclined. Some of Richard’s Cambridge photos are here.

PREVIOUS: Cambridge Trip #9: Darwin’s Room at Christ’s CollegeCambridge Trip #8: Darwin’s Microscope at the Whipple Museum of the History of ScienceCambridge Trip #7: Beetles, Finches and Barnacles at the University Museum of ZoologyCambridge Trip #6: Darwin the Geologist at the Sedgwick Museum of Earth SciencesCambridge Trip #5: Darwin Groupies Explore CambridgeCambridge Trip #4: Darwin in the Field Conference, Pt. 2Cambridge Trip #3: Darwin in the Field ConferenceCambridge Trip #2: Finding My WayCambridge Trip #1: Traveling

Cambridge Trip #2: Finding My Way

Friday, July 10, 2009

Once in Cambridge, I found my room in Downing College and took a shower. That was necessary.

Downing College, University of Cambridge

Downing College, University of Cambridge

I decided then to just walk around, to familiarize myself with the area. Here are some shots from that walk:

Parkers Piece, Cambridge, England

Parker's Piece, Cambridge, England

Downing Street, Cambridge

Downing Street, Cambridge

Sign for directions to various museums, Cambridge

Sign for directions to various museums, Cambridge

The Eagle Pub is famed for being the place where geneticists James Watson and Francis Crick announced that they had discovered the secret of life (determined the structure of DNA):

The Eagle Pub, Cambridge

The Eagle Pub, Cambridge

All Saints Church from Christs Pieces, Cambridge

All Saints Church from Christ's Pieces, Cambridge

Walking around I kept my eyes open for places with free wireless access, but couldn’t find any besides a McDonald’s near an outdoor market.

Outdoor Market, Cambridge

Outdoor Market, Cambridge

Karen James (of NHM and The HMS Beagle Project), who was in Cambridge for the entirety of the Darwin Festival (listen to a podcast about her, mine, and Richard Carter’s time at the festival), met me at McDonald’s (we did not eat there), and we embarked to see a few sites around the university. It was a pleasure to meet Karen, having been online friends for a while now – in fact, this was just my second time meeting a fellow science blogger (the first was Anne-Marie while at UNCW back in March).

First up, Christ’s College, where Darwin attended. His room has been restored (the room was closed, but I saw it another day, photos in a later post) and the grounds of the college is now home to a Darwin garden, centered ’round a stunning sculpture of a young Darwin by Anthony Smith:

Young Darwin sculpture by Anthony Smith, Christs College, University of Cambridge

Young Darwin sculpture by Anthony Smith, Christ's College, University of Cambridge

Karen James with young Darwin

Karen James with young Darwin

I really liked the attention to detail in the sculpture (mainly titles on the books – Herschel, Paley, Humboldt) and the addition of a beetle:

An inordinate fondness for beetles

An inordinate fondness for beetles

Christ’s College boasts a variety of all things bearded-Darwin: a plaque at the porter’s lodge entrance, a stained glass window, and an 1883 copy of an 1875 portrait Walter William Ouless:

Darwin plaque at Christs College

Darwin plaque at Christ's College

Darwin stained glass window at Christs College

Darwin stained glass window at Christ's College

Darwin portrait by Walter William Ouless

Darwin portrait by Walter William Ouless

After Christ’s, Karen and I walked through King’s College (we bumped into Daniel Dennett!) and over the River Cam:

Kings College, University of Cambridge

King's College, University of Cambridge

with Daniel Dennett (notice the Darwin fish pin on his jacket!)

with Daniel Dennett (notice the Darwin fish pin on his jacket!)

Punting Boats, the River Cam, University of Cambridge

Punting Boats, the River Cam, University of Cambridge

Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus), the River Cam, University of Cambridge

Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus), the River Cam, University of Cambridge

After lunch for Karen and coffee for me, we went our own ways. I walked around a bit more, then headed back to room to start making sure I was ready to present my paper at the conference.

Pembroke Street, Cambridge

Pembroke Street, Cambridge

Christs College, University of Cambridge

Christ's College, University of Cambridge

Look familiar? This illustration usually accompanies the image section in Darwin biographies:

Engraving of Christ's College, by J. Le Keux after I. A. Bell. Published April 1838.

Engraving of Christ's College, by J. Le Keux after I. A. Bell. Published April 1838.

St. Johns College, University of Cambridge

St. John's College, University of Cambridge

Later I went to see Re:Design at the ADC Theatre, the play commissioned by the Darwin Correspondence Project about the exchanges between Darwin and Asa Gray. Wonderful play, wonderful acting. Dennett was sitting behind me. You can view a performance of it from 2008 here.

Stage for Re:Design at the ADC Theatre, University of Cambridge

Stage for Re:Design at the ADC Theatre, University of Cambridge

The ADC Theatres Bars Featured Cocktail

The ADC Theatre's Bar's Featured Cocktail

That all made for a very long day (even if I hadn’t flown all the previous day). It was time for sleep. I needed to be awake for the first day of the conference on Saturday. And like Karen said in the podcast, this visit was like Darwin Mecca for me. Friday’s tour through Cambridge barely scratched the surface for all the Darwin it had to offer.

You can view all the photos from my trip here, if you feel so inclined.

PREVIOUS: Cambridge Trip #1: Traveling

DoD in Cambridge

I arrived in Cambridge, England today. Saturday and Sunday will see me at the Darwin in the Field conference at the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences. Today, I walked around, saw Darwin posters/ads everywhere, met up with Karen from The HMS Beagle Project (she was in town for the festival) and checked out a Darwin-art exhibit, as well as the very nice Young Darwin sculpture at Christ’s College. Long day, I am tired, and I have a little work to do on my paper in the morning (I present on Sunday).

Oh, Karen and I met Daniel Dennett! We were walking around King’s College and there he was! A picture with Dennett and many more to come, probably Sunday night or Monday night.

And on Monday I get the pleasure of exploring Cambridge and many Darwin exhibits with Richard Carter, the chap part responsible for Darwin being on UK currency.

One more thing: this evening I saw, and thoroughly enjoyed, the play Re:Design. Learn more about it here.

Beagle Project "Ringing in 2009"

Happy Darwin 2009 to the folks over at the HMS Beagle Project! They have been kind to me over the last year, always plugging my blog on theirs and even sending me a graduation present…



And help the project fulfil its plan to build the Beagle replica by either donating to their charity or purchasing something from their CafePress shop, like a coffee mug or book bag.

Beagle Voyage Begins

From Today in Science History:

In 1831, Charles Darwin set sail from Plymouth harbour on his voyage of scientific discovery aboard the HMS Beagle, a British Navy ship. The Captain Robert FitzRoy was sailing to the southern coast of South America in order to complete a government survey. Darwin had an unpaid position as the ship’s naturalist, at age 22, just out of university. Originally planned to be at sea for two years, the voyage lasted five years, making stops in Brazil, the Galap[a]gos Islands, and New Zealand. From the observations he made and the specimens he collected on that voyage, Darwin developed his theory of biological evolution through natural selection, which he published 28 years after the Beagle left Plymouth. Darwin laid the foundation of modern evolutionary theory.

The Beagle Project Blog shares the opening line of Darwin’s The Voyage of the Beagle:

After having been twice driven back by heavy southwestern gales, Her Majesty’s ship Beagle, a ten-gun brig, under the command of Captain Fitz Roy, R. N., sailed from Devonport on the 27th of December, 1831.

A "I should be doing something else (like work)" miscellany

Richard Carter of The Red Notebook is liveblogging his visit to London to see the new Darwin exhibit there…

From the NCSE, news of a video from the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, which has a segment on paleontology, evolution, and creationism. It features Kevin Padian, who will be speaking in March 2009 at the “Darwin’s Legacy” conference geared toward undergraduate and graduate students. (I am submitting an abstract for my paper on Darwin’s seed experiments that I wrote in Fall 2007.)

Another video on creationism: “The Creationism Controversy in the Classroom” (from Guardian)

The Royal Society Archive is free again, until February 1st. Go here to start searching…

Visit the online store for NHM’s exhibit Darwin: Big Idea, Big Exhibition. The holidays are upon us… maybe give someone the HMS Beagle jigsaw puzzle, and help the Beagle Project put together a much larger version of the ship by donating to their cause.

“Who’s Afraid of Charles Darwin,” by Lorna Salzman. Her other writings on evolution, biodiversity, ecology, natural history, etc. here.

The Beagle Project’s Big News

I am slow to share this news, but the HMS Beagle Project (now a registered charity) has announced their partnership with NASA:

We’re going to be working with NASA on a joint science, education and outreach programme centred on a direct link between the International Space Station and the new Beagle as she retraces the 1831-1836 voyage that carried a certain young naturalist around the world.

For budding biologists and astronauts alike, the new Beagle shall inspire all!

Congrats Karen & Peter…

In Defense of Beagle

Dale Husband decided that the HMS Beagle Project was A really stupid way to honor Darwin:

Why is this idea stupid? Because you can accomplish a lot more scientific research with a modern ship dealing with present day biological issues rather than merely reenacting Darwin’s voyage. Science is not about taking the road already traveled, but going down a previously untraveled path to see what might be found. I will not contribute a dime to such a dubious project. Indeed, I think it is a SCAM!

Check out the comments in the post for folks coming to the defense of the HMS Beagle Project, from the likes of Karen, Kevin, Bora, Michael, and more.

Photos of Darwin’s Garden: An Evolutionary Adventure

Here are some photos (start here, go to the left) of the Darwin’s Garden: An Evolutionary Adventure exhibit at the New York Botanical Garden earlier this summer, care of Karen James of The HMS Beagle Project.

Previous posts about Darwin’s Garden:

Build your own HMS Beagle

Make your own HMS Beagle from two ‘Darwins’ (ten pound sterling notes). Produced on behalf of the Beagle Project (http://www.thebeagleproject.com) who need your help to rebuild the Beagle for a new generation of scientists and school children. Celebrate science, inspire adventure and respect our world by donating two Darwins to the cause today!”

Also, a Beagle Project image reel on Flickr.

HMS Beagle Project: Counterattack!

In 2009 we will see both documentaries and big screen flicks about the life and work of Charles Darwin. It turns out that a creationist ministry is also producing a film about Darwin… with a negative agenda. They received a good amount of money in donations, as did the Creation Museum. If they can pull it in for hogwash, surely a respectable educational and scientific endeavor can get folks to open their wallets. Karen of The HMS Beagle Project urges all to donate to their cause, to build a replica of HMS Beagle, and to use it! It will be no museum, but rather an active tool for educating people about science and doing science across the globe. Read Karen’s call for action here. DONATE HERE.