Charles Darwin

The Origin of Species
  • The Origin of Species

  • PATTERNS OF LIFE: SPECIAL EDITIONS OF GROUNDBREAKING SCIENCE BOOKS

    When the eminent naturalist Charles Darwin returned from South America on board the HMS Beagle in 1836, he brought with him the notes and evidence that would form the basis of a world-changing theory: the evolution of species by a process of natural selection. This theory, published as On the Origin of Species in 1859, is the basis of modern biology and the concept of biodiversity. Its publication sparked a fierce scientific, religious and philosophical debate which continues to this day.

Charles Darwin, a Victorian scientist and naturalist, has become one of the most famous figures of science to date. Born in 1809 to an upper-middle-class medical family, he was destined for a career in either medicine or the Anglican Church. However, he never completed his medical education and his future changed entirely in 1831 when he joined HMS Beagle as a self-financing, independent naturalist. On returning to England in 1836 he began to write up his theories and observations which culminated in a series of books, most famously On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection in 1859, where he challenged and contradicted contemporary biological and religious beliefs with two decades worth of scientific investigation and theory. Darwin's theory of natural selection is now the most widely accepted scientific model of how species evolve. He died in 1882 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.