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Doing Darwin’s Experiments

Summary

Darwin’s curiosity for the natural world meant he carried out experiments throughout his life. Try out his experiments in the class room and compare your results with his findings.

Matches: 1 hits

  • … Darwin wrote to thousands of correspondents and his letters and notebooks show us how he worked. …

Earthworms

Summary

As with many of Darwin’s research topics, his interest in worms spanned nearly his entire working life. Some of his earliest correspondence about earthworms was written and received in the 1830s, shortly after his return from his Beagle voyage, and his…

Matches: 3 hits

  • … the Action of Worms. London: John Murray. Chapters 1 and 3. Letters Letter …
  • … could have observed so much without aid.” [Letter 8140, 3 January 1872] Letters 8144 , …
  • … you about Darwin's domestic life and extended family? 3. How does Darwin praise the …

Books on the Beagle

Summary

The Beagle was a sort of floating library.  Find out what Darwin and his shipmates read here.

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  • … .  Nouvelles Annales du Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle  3 (1834): 84–115. (DAR 37.1: 677v.; letter to …

Darwin in letters,1870: Human evolution

Summary

The year 1870 is aptly summarised by the brief entry Darwin made in his journal: ‘The whole of the year at work on the Descent of Man & Selection in relation to Sex’.  Descent was the culmination of over three decades of observations and reflections on…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … its frequency and variability in humans ( Descent  1: 22-3). Humans as animals: facial …
  • … he informed his father ( letter from G. H. Darwin, [3 February 1870 or earlier] ). George devoted …

Scientific Practice

Summary

Specialism|Experiment|Microscopes|Collecting|Theory Letter writing is often seen as a part of scientific communication, rather than as integral to knowledge making. This section shows how correspondence could help to shape the practice of science, from…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … Letter 1220 — Hooker, J. D. to Darwin, C. R., 3 Feb 1849 Hooker sends Darwin “a yarn about …

Darwin on marriage

Summary

On 11 November 1838 Darwin wrote in his journal ‘The day of days!’. He had proposed to his cousin, Emma Wedgwood, and been accepted; they were married on 29 January 1839. Darwin appears to have written these two notes weighing up the pros and cons of…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … [2] If  not  marry | Travel. Europe, yes?[3] | America???? If I travel it must be …
  • … he followed either of the two options here set out. [3] ‘Europe, yes’  circled in pencil. …

The death of Anne Elizabeth Darwin

Summary

Charles and Emma Darwin’s eldest daughter, Annie, died at the age of ten in 1851.   Emma was heavily pregnant with their fifth son, Horace, at the time and could not go with Charles when he took Annie to Malvern to consult the hydrotherapist, Dr Gully.…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … disposition which at once rises before me is her buoyant 3  joyousness tempered by two other …

Darwin’s hothouse and lists of hothouse plants

Summary

Darwin became increasingly involved in botanical experiments in the years after the publication of Origin. The building of a small hothouse - a heated greenhouse - early in 1863  greatly increased the range of plants that he could keep for scientific…

Matches: 7 hits

  • … recollections’ of the tropics ( Correspondence  vol. 3, letter to Charles Lyell, 8 October [1845 …
  • …   § Asclepias currasavica 3 1.6     …
  • … § Gloxinia droopy & upright 1.6—to 3.6.     …
  • …   Poinsettia pulcherrima 3.6       …
  • …   §Allamanda  & Dipladenia 2.6 or 3.6.   …
  • … Office directory of the six home counties  1862). 3.  Asclepias curassavica. 4. …
  • … Rivinia humuli 2   Phytolacceæ 3       …

Forms of flowers

Summary

Darwin’s book The different forms of flowers on plants of the same species, published in 1877, investigated the structural differences in the sexual organs of flowers of the same species. It drew on and expanded five articles Darwin had published on the…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … The paper was read at a meeting of the Linnean Society on 3 February 1863. Forms …
  • … what I fully believe it is grand case of Trimorphism with 3 different pollens & 3 stigmas ’. …

Darwin and Gender Projects by Harvard Students

Summary

Working in collaboration with Professor Sarah Richardson and Dr Myrna Perez, Darwin Correspondence Project staff developed a customised set of 'Darwin and Gender' themed resources for a course on Gender, Sex and Evolution first taught at Harvard…

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  • … something which is open to interpretation. Project #3: The value of the Darwin & Gender …

Darwin's bad days

Summary

Despite being a prolific worker who had many successes with his scientific theorising and experimenting, even Darwin had some bad days. These times when nothing appeared to be going right are well illustrated by the following quotations from his letters:

Matches: 1 hits

  • … Despite being a prolific worker who had many successes with his scientific theorising and …

John Murray

Summary

Darwin's most famous book On the origin of species by means of natural selection (Origin) was published on 22 November 1859. The publisher was John Murray, who specialised in non-fiction, particularly politics, travel and science, and had published…

Matches: 4 hits

  • … Lyell, whose  Principles of geology  (1830-3) had proved to be a scientific best-seller for the …
  • …  pleased & proud at the appearance of my child’ ([3 November 1859] Letter 2514 ). In the …
  • … became even more despondent: ‘I fear it can never pay’ (3 January [1867] Letter 5346 ). In the …
  • … Copies, & lo & behold we have sold some 1700 Copies!!!’ (3 July 1875 Letter 10040 ). In …

Race, Civilization, and Progress

Summary

Darwin's first reflections on human progress were prompted by his experiences in the slave-owning colony of Brazil, and by his encounters with the Yahgan peoples of Tierra del Fuego. Harsh conditions, privation, poor climate, bondage and servitude,…

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Darwin in letters, 1876: In the midst of life

Summary

1876 was the year in which the Darwins became grandparents for the first time.  And tragically lost their daughter-in-law, Amy, who died just days after her son's birth.  All the letters from 1876 are now published in volume 24 of The Correspondence…

Matches: 4 hits

  • … for an hour every afternoon, Darwin finished his account on 3 August with his new research in mind: …
  • … ( Correspondence vol. 23). With the voting scheduled for 3 February, Darwin reassured his close …
  • … that in less than a day he could type no more than ‘ 2 or 3 times as slowly as writing ’ (DAR 258: …
  • … by the pollen from another form ( Forms of flowers , p. 3). Darwin adopted new terminology if it …

Darwin and slavery

Summary

Darwin was horrified by his encounters with slavery whilst on the Beagle voyage. Learn about the transatlantic slave trade through the context of his experiences.

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  • … Darwin believed that the enslavement of people was barbaric and, like the rest of his family, …

How dangerous was Darwin?

Summary

Discover Darwin’s dilemma and the background leading to the publication of a book that altered the course of scientific thinking. What was the impact of Darwin’s book, On the Origin of Species? How were his ideas received in the popular press?

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  • … Pupils explore the events that led to the publication of Darwin’s ‘On the Origin of Species’ and …

Science: A Man’s World?

Summary

Discussion Questions|Letters Darwin's correspondence show that many nineteenth-century women participated in the world of science, be it as experimenters, observers, editors, critics, producers, or consumers. Despite this, much of the…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … are coded here as i) masculine and ii) feminine? 3. To what extent does this correspondence …

Alfred Russel Wallace’s essay on varieties

Summary

The original manuscript about varieties that Wallace composed on the island of Gilolo and sent to Darwin from the neighbouring island of Ternate (Brooks 1984) has not been found. It was sent to Darwin as an enclosure in a letter (itself missing), and was…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society (Zoology)  3 (1859): 45–62, and this text is reprinted …

Darwin’s scientific women

Summary

Darwin exchanged letters with women who were botanists, travellers, observers, writers, and naturalists. Find out about their lives and how they contributed to his research.

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  • … Darwin’s letters shed light on the lives of some otherwise little-known women and reveal how much …

'Like confessing a murder' audio play

Summary

This speciallycommissioned BBC Radio drama is based entirely on Charles and Emma Darwin’s own words and correspondence. Behind the controversial public persona, Darwin was an affectionate family man, fully engaged – sometimes heartbreakingly so – in the…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … This specially commissioned BBC Radio drama is based entirely on Charles and Emma Darwin’s own …
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