Articles

Book launch: ‘On the Moor: Science, History and Nature on a Country Walk’

158 years ago today saw the publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. Darwin was staying on the edge of Ilkley Moor at the time, just 13 miles as the curlew flies from where I type these words. What better excuse could I possibly need for choosing today to launch my own medium…

If humans evolved from monkeys, how come there are still monkeys?

This is a question frequently posed by creationists—and quite often by perfectly rational people…

13-Jan-1833: The day HMS Beagle nearly sank

Charles Darwin's closest brush with death during the Beagle voyage came on Sunday 13th January 1833, near that most infamous of nautical perils, Cape Horn.

The great Darwin fossil hunt

In which a friend beyond measure arranges a behind-the-scenes visit to the Natural History Museum to see fossils collected by Charles Darwin during the Beagle voyage.

Spandrel sight-seeing

In which I visit the spandrels of San Marco in Venice.

20-Feb-1835: Darwin witnesses an earthquake

On 20th February, 1835, Charles Darwin was lying down in a wood having a rest in Valvidia, Southern Chile, when he experienced a major earthquake.

Thomas Wedgwood: the Uncle of Photography

As historians of science are forever reminding us (although nobody listens to those killjoys), we enter dangerous territory when we start to discuss the ‘first’ person to do X, the ‘lone genius’ who invented Y, or the ‘Father of’ Great Idea Z.

Was Darwin left-handed?

There are a lot of people on the internet who claim Charles Darwin was left-handed…

07-Nov-1913: Alfred Russel Wallace dies

On 7th November 1913, the co-discoverer (with Charles Darwin) of Natural Selection, Alfred Russel Wallace, died, age 90, at his home in Dorset.

11th July, 1836: Darwin visits Napoleon

Towards the end of her second voyage, HMS Beagle called at the island of St Helena in the South Atlantic. Darwin took the opportunity to visit the grave of St Helena's most famous former occupant (and prisoner), Napoleon Bonaparte.