Charles Darwin

Augustine Pyramus de Candolle and the Biological Clock

Augustine Pyramus de Candolle and the Biological Clock

On September 9, 1841, Swiss botanist Augustin Pyramus de Candolle passed away. Candolle originated the idea of “Nature’s war”, which influenced Charles Darwin and the principle of natural selection. Furthermore, he recognized that multiple species may develop similar characteristics that did not appear in a common evolutionary ancestor; this was later termed analogy. During his work with plants, de Candolle noticed that plant leaf movements follow a near-24-hour cycle in constant light, suggesting that…
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Joseph Dalton Hooker and Taxonomy

Joseph Dalton Hooker and Taxonomy

On June 30, 1817, Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker was born, one of the greatest British botanists and explorers of the 19th century. Hooker was a founder of geographical botany and Charles Darwin‘s [4] closest friend. Furthermore, he was assistant on Sir James Ross‘s [3] Antarctic expedition and whose botanical travels to foreign lands included India, Palestine and the U.S., from which he became a leading taxonomists in his time. Joseph Dalton Hooker…
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Sir Francis Beaufort and the Wind Scale

Sir Francis Beaufort and the Wind Scale

On May 27, 1774, Irish hydrographer and officer in the Royal Navy Sir Francis Beaufort was born. Beaufort was the creator of the Beaufort Scale for indicating wind force. In 1806, British Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort devised a simple scale that coastal observers could use to report the state of the sea to the Admiralty. Francis Beaufort was born at Navan, County Meath, Ireland, the son of Daniel Augustus Beaufort, a Protestant…
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Theodosius Dobzhansky and the Unifying modern Evolutionary Synthesis

Theodosius Dobzhansky and the Unifying modern Evolutionary Synthesis

On January 25, 1900, American geneticist and evolutionary biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky was born. Dobzhansky was a central figure in the field of evolutionary biology for his work in shaping the unifying modern evolutionary synthesis. He made the first significant synthesis of Charles Darwin‘s theory of evolution with Gregor Mendel‘s theory of genetics in his book Genetics and the Origin of Species (1937). “[Evolution] is a general postulate to which all theories, all…
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Karl Gegenbaur and Comparative Anatomy

Karl Gegenbaur and Comparative Anatomy

On August 21, 1826, German anatomist Karl Gegenbaur was born. Gegenbaur demonstrated that the field of comparative anatomy offers important evidence supporting of the theory of evolution. He was a strong supporter of Charles Darwin‘s theory of organic evolution, having taught and worked, beginning in 1858, with Ernst Haeckel. Karl Gegenbaur noted that the most reliable clue to evolutionary history is homology, the comparison of anatomical parts which have a common evolutionary…
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Robert FitzRoy – From Darwin’s famous voyage to Meteorology

Robert FitzRoy – From Darwin’s famous voyage to Meteorology

On July 5, 1805, English officer of the Royal Navy Vice Admiral Robert Fitzroy was born. He is best known as the captain of HMS Beagle during Charles Darwin‘s famous voyage, FitzRoy‘s second expedition to Tierra del Fuego and the Southern Cone. Moreover, FitzRoy was a pioneering meteorologist who made accurate daily weather predictions, which he called by a new name of his own invention: “forecasts“. Robert FitzRoy was born at Ampton…
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Herbert Spencer and Social Darwinism

Herbert Spencer and Social Darwinism

On April 27, 1820, English philosopher, biologist, anthropologist, sociologist, and prominent classical liberal political theorist of the Victorian era Herbert Spencer was born. Spencer is best known for the expression “survival of the fittest“, which he coined in Principles of Biology (1864), after reading Charles Darwin‘s On the Origin of Species.[4] This term strongly suggests natural selection, yet as Spencer extended evolution into realms of sociology and ethics, he also made use…
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John Herschel – a Pioneer in Celestial Photography

John Herschel – a Pioneer in Celestial Photography

On March 7, 1792, English polymath, mathematician, astronomer, chemist, inventor, and experimental photographer Sir John Herschel was born. Herschel originated the use of the Julian day system in astronomy and named seven moons of Saturn and four moons of Uranus. He made many contributions to the science of photography, and investigated colour blindness and the chemical power of ultraviolet rays. Overall, he advocated an inductive approach to scientific experiment and theory building,…
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The Chronometers of Thomas Earnshaw

The Chronometers of Thomas Earnshaw

On February 4, 1749, English watchmaker Thomas Earnshaw was born. Earnshaw further simplified the process of marine chronometer production, making them available to the general public. He is also known for his improvements to the transit clock at the Royal Greenwich Observatory in London and his invention of a chronometer escapement and a form of bimetallic compensation balance. Thomas Earnshaw was born at Ashton under Lyne, Lancashire. He became an apprentice at…
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The second Voyage of the H.M.S. Beagle

The second Voyage of the H.M.S. Beagle

On December 27, 1831, The H.M.S. Beagle set sail from Plymouth Sound under captain Robert FitzRoy with the young graduate Charles Darwin on board for her 5 years voyage. By the end of the expedition Charles Darwin had already made his name as a geologist and fossil collector, and the publication of his journal which became known as The Voyage of the Beagle gave him wide renown as a writer. The Cherokee-class…
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