A Life Between The Numbers: Charles Darwin.
When talking about science, there are very few people whom you can call by name and have everyone immediately know who that person is and they have accomplished. Charles Darwin is one of those scientists. Many people know who Darwin is and what he has accomplished, but there are some things about him that you may not know.
Darwin was a scientist who helped the world in a very unique way. As you ,more than likely, already know, Darwin is known for his contributions to the theory of evolution. His journey to accomplishing this extraordinary feat was a long one. His journey started on February 12, 1809, the day of his birth. it was, ultimately, ended on April 19, 1882, the day of his death.
Knowing the dates that this great man was born on and died on, does little more than tell his age. The age of a person can tell you a lot about someone. If they died young, then you could draw conclusions that they were reckless, or too ambitious and payed for it dearly.If they died at a more ripened old age, then you could infer that they lived a simple life, a lavished one, or did nothing with their lives. Just by looking at those dates you can make guesses to how they lived their lives in between the numbers, but as much as you try to guess about their lives, you are doing just that, guessing.
Luckily though, someone thought that Charles Darwin's life was worth eliminating the guesswork out of Darwin's life. There is much known about Darwin, but with all that we do know about him, there is still much that we do not know about him. Darwin was married to his first cousin Emma Wedgwood on January 29, 1839. They were happily married for 40 years.
Would you consider Darwin a household name?
During those forty years, the Darwins steadily put money away for Charles to fund his research. The more Charles researched with their limited amount of money, the more he came to realize that he needed to look for examples of his research to allow his subject of study to be taken seriously in the scientific world. Knowing this, Darwin sought out a benefactor to fund a trip to a string of islands in the Galapagos to continue his research. None would agree to fund him. So, his loving wife, Emma, put all of their savings into his trip.
For his expedition, Darwin had chosen the Canary and Galapagos islands because of their isolation. He left in the year of 1831 to sail for 5 years on his world changing journey. When he arrived to the islands he noted how there were populations of canaries on both islands that differed in minute, but very important ways. He observed how the canaries had changed on the different islands in order to better survive under the varying conditions of the different environments. On one of the islands the food was harder to get to because of the long beaks associated with canaries on the mainland. It appeared as if they adapted to the changes in environment from the mainland and got short, hard, beaks. The exact opposite is true for the other island of canaries, as the beaks of these canaries grew longer to survive better in their environment.
With this information, Darwin went on to gather his findings, and compile it into his book, Origins of Species. Darwin concluded that animals can evolve through a process that he called natural selection. Natural selection is the term that he coined to mean that if an animal offspring mutates and the mutation is beneficial to the offspring to survive in it's environment, then the animal will thrive in it's environment long enough to pass that trait on. If the trait is not beneficial, then the animal will not live to pass the trait on. The mutations that allow the species to thrive will eventually be spread out throughout the animals in that environment, until it completely changes from it's original form. Darwin also concluded that if the species are separated from a form of isolation from the other group of the species, then they will eventually form a new breed of species that is completely different from the original, resulting in species variation.
With the scant few number of years that Darwin had, he was able to establish a scientific theory that has transcended generations, enraged countless arguments, changed the scientific world, and given meaning to one man's life between the numbers.