Portraits of Darwin

As you already know — Darwin is having a big year in 2009. All the incredible resources are providing great opportunities to learn, and teach more about evolution. I’ve listed a few of my favorites here and I hope that you will include others you have found useful in the comments section below. Here is a listing of the materials discussed below:

The Complete Works of Charles Darwin Online

This is a comprehensive online collection including Darwin’s published works, his research notebooks, and related materials. It has resources for getting started (have you read the On the Origin of Species?), and materials for the serious scholar (you can find all 6 editions here). I have particularly enjoyed the collection of Darwin’s sketches of his specimens and the BBC audio book format of Darwin’s Beagle Diary.

Society for the Study of Evolution Birthday Card Video


Robert Pennock, Chair, SSE Education Committee Thomas Meagher, Chair, SSE Darwin 200 Working Group To:

Evolution Directory (EvoDir) mailing list

We hope all have had a nice Birthday Celebration for Charles Darwin on 12 February. We invite you to view the SSE YouTube birthday greetings at the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jn7zLGJE9EY.

This is a fun collection of evolutionary biologist singing and saying happy birthday to Chuck.

Scientific American Darwin Special Issue

I’ve often found that Scientific American strikes the right tone for introducing difficult scientific content to lay audiences. The January 2009 issue has a diverse collection of Darwin and evolution related articles includeing:

  • Diversity Revealed: From Atoms to Traits. By David M. Kingsley Charles Darwin saw that random variations in organisms provide fodder for evolution. Modern scientists are revealing how that diversity arises from changes to DNA and can add up to complex creatures or even cultures.
  • The Science of Spore–The “Evolution” of Gaming. By Ed Regis A computer game illustrates the difference between building your own simulated creature and real-life natural selection.
  • The Evolutionary Origins of Hiccups and Hernias. By Neil H. Shubin How biological hand-me-downs inherited from fish and tadpoles evolved into human maladies.
  • Putting Evolution to Use in the Everyday World. By David P. Mindell Understanding of evolution is fostering powerful technologies for health care, law enforcement, ecology, and all manner of optimization and design problems.

You can see the entire TOC here and all the articles are available online.

Year of Science Celebrates Evolution

The Year of Science 2009 (YoS09) is a national, year-long celebration of science. The goals of the project include engaging the public and improving public understanding about how science works, why it matters, and who scientists are. Each month has a different science theme and Evolution takes center stage in February. As an attempt to raise public awareness, I think the section call “Exploring Evolutionary Thought” is particularly useful. It includes brief interviews with more than 20 scientists in which they describe the role that evolution plays in their work.

Science – Celebrating Darwin

Science is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species and the 200th anniversary of the author’s birth with a variety of news features, scientific reviews and other special content, all collected here. The materials include:

  • An ongoing companion blog titled “Origns: A History of Beginnings” which is organized into the categories, “All Things Darwin”, “Evolution and Culture”, “Origin Essays”, and “The Science of Origins”.
  • Podcasts, book reviews and essays related to Darwin and evolution.
  • Links to the February 6th issue which focuses on speciation (some of this content requires a subscription).

It should be interesting to watch this collection grow throughout the year.

National Center for Science Education — Darwin in the Popular Press

From a very useful compendium of popular press coverage of Darwin’s Anniversary at the National Center for Science Edcuation:

In recognition of Darwin’s 200th birthday, February 12, 2009, the mass media are again taking notice of Darwin’s life, accomplishments, and importance and influence. Writing to Charles Lyell in 1860, Darwin was wryly amused at the sort of newspaper coverage he was receiving in the wake of the publication of the Origin of Species: “I have received in a Manchester Newspaper a rather … good squib, showing that I have proved ‘might is right’, & therefore that Napoleon is right & every cheating Tradesman is also right.” Fortunately, today’s journalists exhibit a higher degree of accuracy than their Victorian colleagues at the Manchester Guardian! Herewith a sampling of the recent coverage of the Darwin bicentennial.

Click here to read the full post at the NCSE web site. I includes information about and links to content from Science News, National Public Radio, BBC, CBC, The New York Times and several more.

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