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Darwin Correspondence Project


Cordillera Beagle expedition

To mark the completion of the Darwin Project and the 214th anniversary of Darwin's birth, use our new interactive to explore 3D images of the rocks Darwin collected on a Beagle voyage inland expedition in the foothills of the Andes in 1834.

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Darwin’s plant experiments

Try out the two interactives to explore why Darwin fed a range of substances to carnivorous plants, including some that were extremely poisonous to animals. Learn how Darwin’s son Francis used a cutting-edge scientific instrument made by another son Horace to assist Darwin with his work on Movement in plants.

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Behind the scenes

What is it like to work on the Darwin Correspondence Project? Watch these short films to find out about day-to-day life on the Project, including how the editors piece letters back together from fragments in the Darwin archive, date incomplete letters, and research who wrote letters with no signature.

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The Darwin family

To celebrate the 163rd birthday of Origin of species, we are launching three new interactives online from our Darwin in Conversation exhibition. They illustrate how Darwin’s children contributed to his science as infants and adults, how he did two of his plant experiments, and what it is like to work on the Darwin Correspondence Project.

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Darwin’s Networks

Darwin wrote to around 2000 people all over the world to help him tackle some fundamental questions about life on earth. Discover how Darwin's ideas spread in North America and how he researched artificial selection practised by animal and plant breeders.  Explore Darwin’s Networks to see how the correspondence he exchanged shaped events in his life and informed his ideas.

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Darwin and the Beagle voyage

In 1831, Darwin joined a voyage that he later referred to ‘as by far the most important event in my life’. Dive in to our 3D model of the Beagle and find out more about life on board and the adventures that he had.

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Darwin and working from home

Ever wondered how Darwin worked? As part of our For the Curious series of simple interactives, ‘Darwin working from home’ lets you explore objects from Darwin’s study and garden at Down House to learn how he worked and what he had to say about it. And not all his work days were successful, here are some letters about Darwin's bad days

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Emotion Experiment

Between March and November 1868, while Darwin was researching his book The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, he showed a succession of visitors a set of photographs of human faces, some with the muscles artificially contracted by electric probes, and asked them what emotion they thought the photographs conveyed. Darwin’s research has striking parallels with contemporary facial recognition experiments. We have recreated Darwin’s expression experiment online, using 21st century techniques to study many of the same problems that Darwin was interested in, using the same photographs Darwin used more than 100 years ago. Try the emotion experiment for yourself.

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