Tuesday, November 24, 2009

150th Anniversary Today! Darwin's On the Origin of Species

It has been a year of celebration and remembrance of Charles Darwin (born 200 years ago last February 12) and his pivotal work, On the origin of species by means of natural selection... but this is THE day! November 24, 1859, marked the beginning of a great new direction in the understanding of natural history, despite resistance to the implications for human origins that continues today.

The library's copy of an early edition is in Special Collections, but there many facsimiles and later editions to browse in the science library, including volumes 15 and 16 of Charles Darwin's Works.

On our new book shelf is one of the many books purchased this year that relate to Darwin directly or evolution more generally: The Origin then and now: an interpretive guide to the Origin of Species. Author David Reznick's begins his preface with: "Darwin's Origin of Species has been described as one of the books that is most widely referred to, but least likely to be read." You can buck that trend and read at least a bit of Origin at the Darwin Online site, or peruse the Darwin Correspondence project to commemorate the day, and enjoy letters between Darwin and his publisher John Murray.

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