Monday, March 13, 2006

 

From love letters to a thimble, Darwin on display

"NEW YORK -- Charles Darwin, the father of evolutionary theory, was born to pious parents and raised a creationist. Stubborn and strong-headed, he hated school and did poorly, leading his despairing father to deride him as a dilettante who cared only for 'shooting, dogs, and rat catching.'

The prodigal son eventually found his way to Cambridge University, where he promised to hunker down and study for the clergy. It was here that he met the Rev. John Stevens Henslow, a renowned professor of science who nurtured Darwin's growing fascination with the natural world. In 1831, Henslow arranged for his charge to fill the post of 'unpaid naturalist' aboard the HMS Beagle, a 90-foot, two-masted Royal Navy ship embarking on a voyage around the world.

The rest is history -- a history on magisterial display through May at the Museum of Natural History in New York and then, from Feb. 18 to April 27, 2007, at the Boston Museum of Science."

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