One of the main scientists who made great contributions to the universal history of science was Charles Darwin thanks to his theory of evolution by natural selection, a theory that held that all species came from other different species and that changes were the result of a law and not a miraculous interposition , and with this it posed an enormous challenge to all the foundations of Western civilization.
- When was he born: 02/12/1809
- Where he was born: Shrewsbury, England
- When he died: 04/19/1882
- Where he died: Downe, England
Who was Charles Darwin?
Charles Darwin was an important naturalist and biologist of British nationality recognized for his Theory of Evolution and his understanding of the natural selection process, finally publishing one of his most important books, The Origin of Species.
- Historic context
- Biography of Charles Darwin
- Contributions of Charles Darwin
- Physical characteristics
- Importance of Charles Darwin
- Presence in popular culture
- Curiosities of Charles Darwin
The history of evolution has been based on research and scientific argument but at the same time has been influenced by the social and cultural context in which Charles Darwin developed. In his theories, one of the main historical aspects that influenced its development was the English Navy and the advance efforts that existed in South America and Africa. The Beagle voyage was in fact a major effort on the part of England to achieve empire building , without this voyage, Charles Darwin’s theory would never have evolved.
A second factor of cultural importance was the political and ideological attitude that existed in England. When he was studying, it was possible to create a less conservative government that also allowed freedom of belief and commerce. Before his theory other revolutions in scientific thought that paved the way for the success of his theory of evolution.
Biography of Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin was born in the city of Shrewsbury , England a February 12 of the year 1809 in a place known as El Monte. He was baptized into the Anglican Church despite attending Unitarian services. From the age of eight he began to show a special interest in Natural History. In his second year at university he managed to enter the Plinian Society , which was made up of a group of students focused on Natural History and from whom he derived radical materialism .
He collaborated with Robert Edmund Grant in his studies on the anatomy and life cycle of invertebrates. He always showed a great disinterest in learning medicine so his father decided to send him to study letters so that he could later graduate as an Anglican pastor. Later, he returned home and received an invitation to take a position as a naturalist without pay from Captain Robert RitzRoy . At the beginning his father opposed the trip but finally agreed to allow his son to participate.
This trip lasted almost 5 years and during that time Charles Darwin dedicated himself to conducting geological investigations and collecting specimens , took a large number of important notes and gathered a large number of species so that specialists could carry out studies. By the time the return trip, he had already become a celebrity in the scientific field and his reputation had been promoted in many places.
In 1873 he suffered a first heart attack and on that occasion he was assisted by Dr Clark. Some time later, on April 15, 1882, he began with a severe arrhythmia , dizziness and loss of consciousness . His treatment and opium included three teaspoons of whiskey. At 3:30 in the afternoon his death occurred in a serene way. His causes of death were established as coronary thrombosis . His funerals were held on April 26, attended by important personalities from various countries around the world.
As a child, he attended the local school which was run by the presenter of the chapel and in 1818 joined the Anglican school in Shrewsbury . When he was sixteen he enrolled at the University of Edinburgh and in 1827 he entered Christ’s College, Cambridge .
Contributions of Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin’s first contribution was to the field of science as he dedicated his life to the study of species which, according to his theory, did not remain static over time but rather evolved into dynamic species. His theory of natural selection was established as the mechanism that makes evolution possible by explaining the reason for the evolution of living beings.
Another of his important contributions was derived from his research regarding evolution and the origin of life as he managed to observe that several species had characteristics in common which changed as the species were further apart. This made him understand that all organisms started from a common ancestor who was also differentiating in the environments that the species inhabited.
Finally, he managed to put an end to the anthropocentrism that established that human beings were something special in the universe, before this he established that individuals were one more animal and that they were also affected by the laws of natural selection like all living beings.
One of the most important theories of Charles Darwin was that of evolution by natural selection, which today explains what we know about life on earth. In his theory he managed to structure an idea that already existed in the scientific field. He stated in his theory that living things are multiplied and compete for survival and to reproduce , this competition managed to get ahead those best suited or those with some kind of advantage . These advantages were inherited to the children and little by little it became more common and they were improving with thetime passed . They also evolved from generation to generation until they managed to create a different species .
There is no exact description of his characteristics, however it is said that he had a rather prominent nose that almost cost him his trip on the ship because at that time it was believed that large noses brought problems.
Charles Darwin had a very friendly personality , he was a nice man , he liked the family environment and he had a good sense of humor but he was also a personality full of contradictions. He was an enemy of controversy and controversy and was also a bit indecisive mainly during his first years of life. He was extremely methodical and analyzed things like a scientist.
His father was Robert Darwin who worked as a doctor and as a merchant and his mother Susannah Darwin .
He married Emma Wedgwood in Maer. It is important to mention that Emma was her first cousin so she always had the fear that her later generations suffered from some kind of problem.
Together with his wife he had a total of ten children , however, three of them did not make it past ten years of age and three more of their children were sterile.
Importance of Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin is considered the father of the theory of evolution and through it he managed to revolutionize all the knowledge that existed regarding man, founding the future of science in the twentieth century . It was and continues to be a key piece that allowed us to understand the biological evolution of species and its discoveries were part of the world of evolutionism . He was a man who managed to revolutionize the world completely.
Some of the most important phrases mentioned by Charles Darwin were the following:
- Great is the power of constant misrepresentation.
- Intelligence is based on how efficient species become in doing the things they need to survive.
- Mathematics seems to give one a new meaning.
- I became a kind of machine to observe facts and draw conclusions.
- Insects, like me, are misunderstood by the majority.
- Man selects for his own good, nature does so for the common good.
- I am a firm believer that without speculation there is no good and original observation.
Among his most recognized works are the following:
- The Origin of Species , a book considered as the forerunner of scientific literature and as the main foundation for the theory of evolutionary biology .
- The Fertilization of Orchids where he describes his observations and experiments regarding the ways in which orchids were pollinated by insects.
- The origin of man where he spoke about human evolution.
- The voyage of Beagle where he gathers his travel memories, his different scientific annotations with respect to biology, geology and anthropology.
- Geological Observations in South America, a book in which he narrates the scientific observations during his second voyage on the Beagle.
The awards he received were the Royal Medal in 1853 which is awarded for the most important contributions to natural knowledge. He was awarded the Wallaston Medal in 1859 , a specifically scientific award for geology, it is the highest award given by the Geological Society of London , and finally, he was awarded the Copley Medal in 1853 which is given to scientists for outstanding achievements in research in any of the branches of science and biological studies.
Presence in popular culture
In popular culture it is possible to find in the history and work of Charles Darwin through some films and television documentaries. One of the most important cinematographic films is known as Darwin’s Doubt , a work that narrates the struggle that the naturalist lived through when he published The Origin of Species with her, which established a conflict between his scientific vocation and his love for his wife who was very religious.
Another of the well-known films is called Creation and in it the role of Darwin is observed recounting real events and some fictional ones focused mainly on his internal struggle between his scientific vocation and his devotion to his wife. Darwin, The Origin of Evolution, also tells the story about the development of his theory of the origin and evolution of species.
Curiosities of Charles Darwin
Some of its main curiosities were the following:
- He used to eat strange animals , for example, an owl, iguanas and giant tortoises.
- He could not bear being near blood because he was afraid of it and for that reason he could never become a doctor as his father wanted.
- His nose was quite large which made him almost not accepted by FitzRoy since he believed that the character of a man could be judged by the features of his face.
- The real name of his work The Origin of Species was The Origin of Species by Natural Selection, or the preservation of favored races in the struggle for life.