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What is Darwin200?

Darwin200 plans to celebrate the impact that Darwin's ideas about evolution, as well as his approach to the understanding of the natural world and his outstanding example as a scientist, continue to have on our lives.

The celebrations are centred on Darwin’s 200th birthday in February 2009, but will begin in July 2008 by commemorating 150 years since Darwin first presented his theory to fellow scientists. Darwin200 events will build up to November 2009, which is the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection.

Why is Darwin relevant today?

Portrait of Charles Darwin (1809-1882)

Portrait of Charles Darwin (1809-1882)

Darwin is now a household name whose ideas over the last 150 years have revolutionised our understanding of nature and our place within it.

Darwin challenged the thinking of the day because his observations - that every living thing is related and belongs to one big family - placed humans firmly within the natural world.

As the following quotes indicate, Darwin’s innovative thoughts are just as important to our lives today…

A parrot fish, Pseudoscarus lepidus, collected by Darwin during his voyage on the Beagle.

A parrot fish, Pseudoscarus lepidus, collected by Darwin during his voyage on the Beagle.

'Charles Darwin's concept of evolution through natural selection is one of the most illuminating scientific ideas of all time for understanding our biosphere and humanity's place in nature. As an iconic figure, Darwin is matched only by Newton and Einstein - indeed, he has perhaps had a more pervasive influence on human culture than any other scientist.' Lord Rees of Ludlow, The Charles Darwin Trust's Science Advisory Panel

'The two governing ideas of modern biology are first, the molecular basis of all life processes and second, the origin and evolution of all life processes by Darwinian natural selection.'
Professor E O Wilson, The Charles Darwin Trust's Science Advisory Panel.