Two new Darwin statues, as a young naturalist

In the news recently, there are two new Charles Darwin statues, and they both depict the young naturalist (yay!).

The Chicago Maroon: Dr. Watson welcomes Darwin statue

Statue at the Biological Sciences Learning Center, Univ. of Chicago (Photo: Frank Wang)

Galapagos Conservation: The Making of Darwin

Statue at the Charles Darwin Research Station, Santa Cruz island, Galapagos

BOOK: How to Fake a Moon Landing: Exposing the Myths of Science Denial

I think this illustrated look at science denial complements Donald Prothero’s Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future (my review) very well:

Darryl Cunningham, How to Fake a Moon Landing: Exposing the Myths of Science Denial (New York: Abrams ComicArts, 2013), 176 pp.

Climate change, fracking, evolution, vaccinations, homeopathy, chiropractic, even the moon landing – all hut-button controversies to which author-artist Darryl Cunningham applies cool, critical analysis. Using comics, photographs, diagrams, and highly readable text, Cunningham lays out the why and wherefores to expose the myths of science denial. Timely and well researched, How to Fake a Moon Landing is a graphic milestone of investigative science journalism.

BOOK: God—or Gorilla: Images of Evolution in the Jazz Age

For readers of the book I posted about this morning (Trying Biology), this one from a few years back might be of interest.

Constance Areson Clark, God – or Gorilla: Images of Evolution in the Jazz Age (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 312 pp.

As scholars debate the most appropriate way to teach evolutionary theory, Constance Areson Clark provides an intriguing reflection on similar debates in the not-too-distant past. Set against the backdrop of the Jazz Age, God—or Gorilla explores the efforts of biologists to explain evolution to a confused and conflicted public during the 1920s.

Focusing on the use of images and popularization, Clark shows how scientists and anti-evolutionists deployed schematics, cartoons, photographs, sculptures, and paintings to win the battle for public acceptance. She uses representative illustrations and popular media accounts of the struggle to reveal how concepts of evolutionary theory changed as they were presented to, and absorbed into, popular culture.

Engagingly written and deftly argued, God—or Gorilla offers original insights into the role of images in communicating—and miscommunicating—scientific ideas to the lay public.

A review by Marcel Chotkowski LaFollette is on the website of the National Center for Science Education.

BOOK: Darwin: A Graphic Biography

For Darwin’s bicentenary in 2009, Simon Gurr and Eugene Byrne put together a graphic novel. It was distributed throughout the UK, and I was happy to have been sent a copy:

Darwin: A Graphic Biography

It has now been published in the United States through Smithsonian Books:

From the Trade Paperback edition

Darwin: A Graphic Biography is an inspiring expedition into the physical and intellectual adventures of Charles Darwin. Presenting Darwin’s life in a smart and entertaining graphic novel, Darwin: A Graphic Biography attempts to not only educate the reader about Darwin but also the scientific world of the 1800s. The graphic medium is ideal for recreating a very specific time frame, succeeding in placing the reader right next to a young Darwin on a “beetling” expedition. With specimens in both hands, and anxious to get another, Darwin ends up stuffing the third beetle into his mouth. Darwin’s life presented in this form is an inspirational tale for kids of all ages. They’ll be sure to identify with a curious young Darwin finding his way on youthful adventures in the fields near his house. The ups, downs, and near-misses of Darwin’s youth are portrayed honestly and without foreshadowing of his later fame. This is a key point for younger readers: that Darwin wasn’t somehow predestined to greatness. He was curious, patient, and meticulous. He persevered–a great lesson about what science is all about.

It is available on Amazon today, one week before Darwin Day: Darwin: A Graphic Biography. And the National Center for Science Education has a preview, here.

For some images from inside, see: On the origin of Darwin: A Graphic Biography and Happy Birthday, Darwin: A Graphic Biography.

URGENT: Help fund an Alfred Russel Wallace statue!

For the centenary of Alfred Russel Wallace’s death (1913), the Wallace Memorial Fund wishes to commission a life-sized statue of Wallace for the Natural History Museum, London. They need to raise £50,000 by January 31st. Last I heard they were £30,000 short, so they really could use some more donations!

Click here to donate.

Click here to read more about the proposal for the Wallace statue.

Alfred Russel Wallace / A.R.ウォーレス

Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913)

RIP, Lonesome George

At some point in our lives, my family and I wish to visit the Galapagos Islands. No surprise, huh?

It is sad to report the news that Lonesome George, the last known member of the Galapagos Tortoise subspecies Chelonoidis nigra abingdoni, died on June 24th. Originally from Pinta Island and relocated to the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island, George died in his habitat, assumed to be from natural causes. He was an estimated 100 years old.

RIP, Lonesome George. Patrick drew a picture for you:

Tonight, we will be reading a children’s book we have about Lonesome George. And we came across a neat online book about him and other Galapagos critters, The Only One.