Patrick likes Portland

Yesterday Catherine took Patrick to the Oregon Zoo:

Patrick & a giraffe

Patrick & a giraffe

More zoo shots here, including the animatronic dinosaurs they are hosting right now.

Today I took him to OMSI:

Down the hole the balls go...

Down the hole the balls go...

More OMSI shots here.

PODCAST: [More] More Darwin Podcasts from Endless Forms Exhibit

As part of hosting the art exhibit Endless Forms: Darwin, Natural Science & the Arts (opened June 16th), the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, England is doing a series of podcasts. I have posted the first 13 episodes so far (herehere, here, and here), and here are a few more:

14. Evolving Images: Race and Popular Darwinism in Nineteenth-Century Photography (with Elizabeth Edwards)

15. Between Apes and Angels: Representing the Darker Implications of Darwinism (with Dr. Marek Kohn)

16. Struggles and Strikes: The “Survival of the Fittest’ in Art and Literature (with Dame Gillan Beer)

Cambridge Trip #6: Darwin the Geologist at the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences

Monday, 13 July 2009

After a very nice sleep (not being nervous about presenting a paper) at Granta House, I looked forward to an entire day of relaxation and touring Cambridge. Here’s the street where my bed and breakfast was:

Street with Granta House, Cambridge, England

Street with Granta House, Cambridge, England

Our first stop was the Cambridge University Library to see the exhibit A Voyage Round the World, showcasing the library’s collection of documents, maps, drawings, books, etc. dealing with the voyage of HMS Beagle. An awesome exhibit, but unfortunately no pictures were allowed. I couldn’t even take a picture of a banner for the exhibit in the main lobby of the library. So Richard and I decided to pick up the exhibit’s companion book (Richard spotted me the tenner for it, thanks!). The library and the book:

Cambridge University Library

Cambridge University Library

A Voyage Round the World by Alison M. Pearn

A Voyage Round the World by Alison M. Pearn

Next we headed to the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, to see the new permanent exhibit Darwin the Geologist and the rest of the museum, which, if you like lots of old stuff (fossils, rocks, etc.) crammed in large wooden cabinets, is definitely a place to check out when in Cambridge. On the way there, though, we passed an interesting spot for history of science buffs, the Mathematical Bridge at Queen’s College, built in 1749:

Mathematical Bridge, The River Cam, University of Cambridge

Mathematical Bridge, The River Cam, University of Cambridge

The Queen’s College website debunks the myth that Isaac Newton designed and built the bridge without using nuts or bolts:

For those who have fallen prey to the baseless stories told by unscrupulous guides to gullible tourists, it is necessary to point out that Isaac Newton died in 1727, and therefore cannot possibly have had anything to do with this bridge. Anyone who believes that students or Fellows could have disassembled the bridge (and then failed to re-assemble it, as the myth runs) cannot have a serious grasp on reality, given the size and weight of the wooden members of the bridge. The joints of the present bridge are fastened by nuts and bolts. Earlier versions of the bridge used iron pins or screws at the joints, driven in from the outer elevation. Only a pedant could claim that the bridge was originally built without nails. Other baseless stories are that Etheridge had been a student, and/or had visited China.

Now some pictures from Darwin the Geologist:

Richard Carter observing Darwin the Geologist

Richard Carter observing Darwin the Geologist

Bust of Darwin by Anthony Smith, Darwin the Geologist

Bust of Young Darwin by Anthony Smith, Darwin the Geologist

Computer interactive shows posts from exhibits blog

Computer interactive shows posts from exhibit's blog

Another interactive showing rocks collected on Beagle voyage

Another interactive showing rocks collected on Beagle voyage

HMS Beagle Puzzle

HMS Beagle Puzzle

Darwin, the Young Collector

Darwin, the young collector

Influential books

Influential books

A Letter

A Letter

Fossil finds on the Beagle voyage

Fossil finds on the Beagle voyage

Signature in a geological notebook

Signature in a geological notebook

Recreation of Darwins cabin on HMS Beagle

Recreation of Darwin's cabin on HMS Beagle

The Andes

The Andes

Geologising at the Galapagos Islands

'Geologising' at the Galapagos Islands

Coral Reefs in the Pacific

Coral Reefs in the Pacific

Raw materials & precious metals

Raw materials & precious metals

Touch a rock

Touch a rock

Series of displays showing current research influenced by Darwin

Series of displays showing current research influenced by Darwin

Visitors observing Darwin the Geologist

Visitors observing Darwin the Geologist

Now a look at the rest of the museum:

The Irish Elk, Sedgwick Museum

The Irish Elk, Sedgwick Museum

Deinotherium, Sedgwick Museum

Deinotherium, Sedgwick Museum

Label on Deinotherium

Label on Deinotherium

Allosaurus skull

Allosaurus skull

Statue of Adam Sedgwick

Statue of Adam Sedgwick

The Burgess Shale, Sedgwick Museum

The Burgess Shale, Sedgwick Museum

Sedgwick Museum

Sedgwick Museum

Nice seating area with a kids Darwin library

Nice seating area with a kid's Darwin library

Richard said he saw Darwin in these brachipods. Do you?

Richard said he saw Darwin in these brachipods. Do you?

Iguanodon, Sedgwick Museum

Iguanodon, Sedgwick Museum

Tour group observing Darwin the Geologist

Tour group observing Darwin the Geologist

Typical display in the Sedgwick Museum

Typical display in the Sedgwick Museum

A familiar sight for a guy from Bozeman (Yellowstone)

A familiar sight for a guy from Bozeman (Yellowstone)

In my next post I will share some images from the University Museum of Zoology, including the Darwin exhibit Beetles, Finches and Barnacles.

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 #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

PODCAST: John Parker on “The Roots of a Theory”

As part of hosting the art exhibit Endless Forms: Darwin, Natural Science & the Arts (opened June 16th), the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, England is doing a series of podcasts. In this third podcast, John Parker discusses “The Roots of a Theory: How Plants Specimens Led a Young Darwin to Discovery”:

Plant specimens may seem an unlikely starting point for Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection – but, as Professor John Parker investigates in this podcast, the Cambridge botanist John Stevens Henslow proved a crucial mentor for the young naturalist. Find out how Darwin shipped his collections from the Beagle voyage back to Cambridge, and how these almost 200 year-old specimens can today give us a snapshot of long-extinct botanical life.

Download or listen online (with a slideshow) here.

Check here for previous posts about this art exhibit and the accompanying podcasts.

PODCAST: John van Wyhe on “Darwin in Cambridge”

As part of hosting the art exhibit Endless Forms: Darwin, Natural Science & the Arts (opening June 16th), the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, England is doing a series of podcasts. In this second podcast, John van Wyhe (historian of science and director of The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online), discusses “Darwin in Cambridge: From Christ’s College to the Beagle”:

Dr. John van Wyhe, Director of Darwin Online, discusses Darwin’s student days at Christ’s College, Cambridge in the 1820s, and investigates the young naturalist’s developing eye for visual observation – as well as debunking a few persistent Darwin myths. Also featured: how Darwin’s rooms were restored and re-opened to the public.

Download or listen online (with a slideshow) here.

PREVIOUS:

PODCAST: Jim Secord on “Darwin and the Ancient Earth”

VIDEO: Endless forms: Charles Darwin, Natural Science and the Visual Arts

EXHIBIT: Endless Forms: Charles Darwin, Natural Science and the Visual Arts

ARTICLE: “Charles Darwin and Andrew Smith – an overseas exchange”

Lyall Anderson, a paleontologist working at the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences at the University of Cambridge, has just published the following article:

Lyall I. Anderson, “Charles Darwin and Andrew Smith – an overseas exchange.” Scottish Journal of Geology 45 (2009): 59-68.

Here is the abstract:

Charles Darwin met Andrew Smith in Cape Town, southern Africa on the last leg of his voyage aboard HMS Beagle (1831-1836). Both men shared a common background of having attended medical school at the University of Edinburgh although there was no apparent overlap of their times there; the latter became a career medic whereas the former did not. Evidence from the Beagle Collection of geological samples held at the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences reveals that as well as accompanying Darwin on geological fieldwork around Cape Town, Smith supplied him with rocks which he had collected personally during his expedition to central southern Africa the previous year (1835). The two men remained firm correspondents until the year before Smith’s death in 1872.

Anderson, who is researching Darwin’s geology collection at the museum, is also organizing the conference “Darwin in the Field: Collecting, Observation and Experiment” in Cambridge in July, which I posted about here. Oh, and I am going to this conference!

Latest Issue of Museum History Journal

The January issue of Museum History Journal (Vol. 2, No. 1) includes:

Wax Bodies: Art and Anato my in Victorian Medical Museums — Samuel J. M. M. Alberti

Narrativity and the Museological: Myths of Nationality — Donald Preziosi

Matter of Fact: Biographies and Zoological Specimens — Taika Dahlbom

Frederic Ward Putnam, Chicago’s Cultural Philanthropists, and the Founding of the Field Museum — Paul D. Brinkman

*Book Reviews*

Museum Skepticism: A History of the Display of Art In Public Galleries by David Carrier — reviewed by Bruce Robertson

Museums in Motion: An Introduction to the History and Functions of Museums, second edition by Edward P. Alexander and Mary Alexander — reviewed by Suzanne M. Fischer

Return to Alexandria: An Ethnography of Cultural Heritage, Revivalism, and Museum Memory by Beverley Butler — reviewed by Tiffany Jenkins

All Creatures: Naturalists, Collectors, and Biodiversity, 1850 – 1950 by Robert E. Kohler — reviewed by Charlotte M. Porter

*Archive*

Earliest known photographic portraits of Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln, celebrating the bicentennial of their births on February 9, 2009

If anyone has access to this journal, please let me know…

Visiting Portland – What to do there?

We have decided to go to Portland for a few days before the semester starts next week. Catherine has friends there to see, and I’ve never been, so we thought it would make a nice road trip/visit. Weather looks decent for the drive and stay.

So, with an almost 3-year old boy, what is there to do in Portland? I know there is a zoo and a science museum, but I don’t know anything about them. Any recommendations or suggestions?

Of course, we will go to Powell’s

a evolução de Darwin

Via My Biotech Life, there’s a new website and companion blog for the exhibit Darwin’s Evolution at Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, Portugal, to open February 12, 2009. There’s a lecture series planned as well.

And speaking of Darwin exhibits, Larry Moran of Sandwalk finally went to see the Toronto showing of Darwin: The Evolution Revolution in its last week.

Darwin’s Garden: Exhibit and Related Symposium in New York

What happens while I lay in bed sound asleep? Well, Karen of The H.M.S. Beagle Project beats me (she’s six hours ahead of me) to posting about another Darwin exhibit and event. Honestly, I planned to post it this morning anyways, when I saw it advertised in the latest Natural History magazine last night while listening about the Beagle Project on Atheists Talk (mp3 direct link).

Curated by Darwin historian David Kohn (The Darwinian Heritage, Darwin on Evolution), Darwin’s Garden: An Evolutionary Adventure opens at the New York Botanical Garden on April 25 (until June 15). From the website:

Charles Darwin is best known for his theory of evolution and other natural history achievements, but little is known about his enduring and insightful work with plants and the important role they played in formulating his ideas. Yet from cradle to grave, botany played a pivotal role in Darwin’s life. From counting peonies and playing under the apple trees in his father’s garden as a boy to collecting “all the plants in flower” on his famous voyage to the Galápagos as a young man and testing the sex and sensitivity of plants at his home, Down House, in his later years, plants were a lifelong preoccupation for Darwin.

Darwin’s Garden: An Evolutionary Adventure explores the untold story of Darwin’s botanical influences, his research, and his contribution to our understanding of plants, and ultimately, of life in general. The exhibition is featured in three Botanical Garden venues and includes an “evolutionary tour” of living plants that demonstrate key points on the tree of life, which links all living beings through a common ancestry.

Along with the formal exhibit, there is reproduction of Darwin’s garden, a symposium in early May, and an interactive children’s exhibit (with activity).

Damn, New York is way over on the east coast, and I am in the middle of the continent… If anyone goes to see the exhibits or symposia, please share….

For anyone interested in Darwin and his botanical work, due out in this spring is The Aliveness of Plants: The Darwins at the Dawn of Plant Science by Peter Ayres. From the publisher:

The Darwin family was instrumental in the history of botany. For Erasmus (1731–1802), it was a hobby, for Charles (1809–1882) an inspiration, and for Francis (1848–1925), a profession. Their experiences illustrate the growing specialization and professionalization of science throughout the nineteenth century. Ayres shows how botany escaped the burdens of medicine, feminization and the sterility of classification and nomenclature to become a rigorous laboratory science.