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.
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.