1 July 2008

Breaking cover and breaking ground

Today is not only the 150th (thank you KevinZ) anniversary of the day Darwin and Wallace's joint paper was read to the Linnean (see below for an appreciation of Wallace's often underestimated contribution, and for the full text of the paper here), it is also the day on which Darwin started his first notebook on 'transmutation'.

H/t The Red Notebook.

And in the Daily Telegraph, Martin Rees of the Royal Society gives the anniversary the write up it deserves.


Kevin Zelnio said...

200 years? I know Darwin was a genius but he was barely conceived this time in 1808.

Karen James said...

That's not just any old Martin Rees of the Royal Society, folks, that's Martin Rees, President of the Royal Society.

At the June 3rd launch of Darwin200 at the Natural History Museum, I heard him say something really moving (paraphrased): even though I'm an astronomer I have to admit, it is easier to understand a star than the tiniest insect.

Karen James said...

Now having read Rees' piece through, I see that it is indistinguishable from the speech he gave at the museum ...so please ignore my clunky paraphrase and just go read it for yourself.

My favourite part is:

"We are starting to understand how, starting from some still mysterious genesis event nearly 14 billion years ago, atoms, stars, planets, and biospheres evolved - and how, on at least one planet around at least one star, Darwinian selection led to the emergence of creatures able to ponder their origins.

Those who aren't aware of these grand concepts are culturally deprived."