To mark the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of 'On the Origin of Species', the BBC is airing a season of landmark TV and radio programmes.Radio 4 kicks the season off with In Our Time presented by Melvin Bragg:
Simple yet profound, Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection is one of the most influential scientific ideas ever conceived. Even today, its conclusions and implications impact religion, politics, economics and art as well as our understanding of the natural world.
David Attenborough, Andrew Marr, Armand Leroi and Melyvn Bragg are among the key names who will explore Darwin's extraordinary life and work.
9.00am Monday 5 January - Thursday 9 January 2009
Melvyn Bragg looks back over Charles Darwin’s life and asks why Darwin’s writing remains such a profound influence on our understanding of the natural world. The series describes Darwin's education at Edinburgh and Cambridge. It discusses how the voyage on the Beagle influenced the longer-term development of Darwin’s ideas about evolution and goes on to grapple with what Darwin meant by 'evolution by natural selection'. The series concludes with Darwin's later years. Melvyn reviews his final publications and stresses the importance of his enormous scientific and personal correspondence.
As Melvyn develops his own ideas about Darwin, he talks to academics and scientists, all of whom have specialist knowledge of Darwin’s life and work. These include biographer James Moore, biologist Steve Jones, paleobiologist David Norman, librarians Judith Magee and Colin Higgins, garden curator Nick Biddle, zoologist Jenny Clack and botanists Johannes Vogel and Sandy Knapp. Melvyn also talks to Jim Secord and Alison Pearn, both from the Darwin Correspondence Project.