ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

George Darwin and The Theory of Moon Formation

Updated on May 27, 2011

Theory of Moon Formation

Darwin did to his sons what the composer Bach did to his. Even though the composer Carl Philip Emanuel Bach is relatively well known today, he pales in comparison with his father Johann Sebastian Bach. Few books have been as widely read or highly acknowledged as Darwin's "On the Origin of Species."  So it should come as no surprise to anyone why Charles Darwin's son George, isn't nearly as well known as his father is.

George Howard Darwin was born on 7-9-1845, and died on 12-7-1912. He was a great English astronomer and the son of Charles Darwin. George studied under Charles Pritchard, and then went on to study at Trinity College. He had a great love for science; in 1883 George became Professor of Astronomy and Experimental Philosophy at Cambridge. He had a great deal of interest in tidal forces. His love and interest in this field would eventually lead him to formulate the fission theory of Moon formation. In 1892, George won the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society. He would later serve as the president of this prestigious organization. George Darwin was acknowledged during his lifetime, however; Charles Darwin has become so famous amongst the scientific community, that many forget how great his son George was.

Theory of Moon Formation:

George Darwin believed in Newtonian theory which proposed that the Moon could have been much closer to the Earth at one point in time. Soviet and NASA tests later proved the theory by showing that the Moon was gradually moving away from the Earth. According to this theory; the Moon was spun as a result of a collision between a young Earth and a Mars size planet sometimes known as Theia. Sample of the Moon's surface have shown the Moon was once molten. Indirect evidence of this impact was later proven with rocks collected by the Apollo Moon landings. Samples of the Moon's crust gave rise to the idea that a large impact could have supplied the energy needed to form such a magma ocean. The Moon's small core has also helped in formulating and explaining this theory. The theory proposes the Moon could have formed from mantles of the Earth and Theia (also known as Orpheus and/or Hephaestus) after their impact/collision supposedly took place.

In the scientific community, Charles Darwin is still considered top dog (although Charles Darwin was actually a naturalist which is a bit different than a scientist which is what his son George was, but try to argue that with popular culture/society). Today, theories have vindicated George, who for years was thought of as a sort of pseudo-scientist, and nothing else.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Hi John sir

      I highly appreciate your point but we can observe that science is evolving even today how can we take Darwin theory as ideal for all related subjects to it

      Sir anticipating a quick reply


      A curious student

      Who is waiting for Ur answer

    • John Sarkis profile imageAUTHOR

      John Sarkis 

      6 years ago from Winter Haven, FL

      Aquatic Guru, thanks for stopping by and commenting.

      Not sure if these tests have been done. I heard about George Darwin and was impressed with him, so decided to give him some much deserved airtime that his father seems to hog up....

      Take care

    • Aquatic Guru profile image

      Don Pratt 

      6 years ago from United States

      Hello John, Interesting theory there. I also read where some scientist had a theory about the moon being hollow at one time. They did an impact test to see if they could determine what the core of the moon was made of. They said the moon rung like a bell for a very long time. They later figured out it was because of a lack of water that caused the prolonged vibrations. Saturn V I think.

    • John Sarkis profile imageAUTHOR

      John Sarkis 

      9 years ago from Winter Haven, FL

      Hi dmop, and thanks for stopping by and commenting.

      I heard this on a radio show. The show's host is himself a theoretical physicist and discussed this theory. I thought it was useful and decided to write a hub. This is one of the first hubs I wrote for HP

      Thanks again and take care


    • dmop profile image


      9 years ago from Cambridge City, IN

      Fantastic information included here, I haven't heard about this theory before. It would be difficult to live up to the infamy of Charles Darwin, but it sounds like George made quite an impression as well. Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • John Sarkis profile imageAUTHOR

      John Sarkis 

      9 years ago from Winter Haven, FL

      Hi rahul, and thanks for stopping by and commenting.

      Yes, it seems as if many people have problems having successful/unsuccessful parents; I remember when I was small poor children in school lying about having wealthy parents. So you see my friend, the pendulum swings both ways.

      Take care and thanks again for stopping by


    • rahul0324 profile image

      Jessee R 

      9 years ago from Gurgaon, India

      Famous parents can seriously affect their children as their efforts are caped by the status of their parents,,

      In the end they always end being their parents children... having no identity of their own.. in spite of their hard work!!

    • John Sarkis profile imageAUTHOR

      John Sarkis 

      9 years ago from Winter Haven, FL

      Hi tammy, and thanks for stopping by and commenting.

      Yes, I first heard this on a radio station that I listen to in Los Angeles. The host is a renown astrophysicist and he invited someone who discussed George Darwin and I was fascinated by the discussion.

      Thanks again and enjoy your day


    • tammyswallow profile image


      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Your hub reminds me of one of my favorite joke. Why did Bach have soooo many children? His organ had no stops. LOL.

      Seriously though, this is a very informative hub. I didn't realize there was a theory suggesting the moon was so close to the Earth. It is scary to think that moon is still moving away from Earth but any thing is possible. Great theories and a thought provoking hub.

    • John Sarkis profile imageAUTHOR

      John Sarkis 

      9 years ago from Winter Haven, FL

      Hi Theresa, you do too much honor. I'm so glad you enjoyed this hub. I mentioned in the beginning of the hub how sometimes children of great men/women always live in their shadow. This happened with Bach's children, all of whom were musicians themselves; this happened with Darwin's son George.

      Take care and thanks so much for stopping by


    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 

      9 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Hi John - You are so right that famous parents often result in quite accomplished children who labor largely in obscurity. Rather unfortunate for the poor children.

      This was fascinating and of course I knew nothing at all about George Darwin or his accomplishments. Think I will include him the next time I teach History of Science. Thanks for a great Hub. Theresa Sharing.

    • John Sarkis profile imageAUTHOR

      John Sarkis 

      10 years ago from Winter Haven, FL

      Hi Jean,

      Yes, I do like a variety of things. You're right. When a person is famous, their children often try to live up to them and seldom can.

      Thanks for reading my hub.

      Take care,


    • Jean Bakula profile image

      Jean Bakula 

      10 years ago from New Jersey

      Hi John,

      That was very interesting. You have a wide range of interests! It must be difficult to be the child of a famous person in any field. You will either never live up to your parent's achievments, or nobody will ever hear of you, as with George. Society seems to equate brilliant, talented people with gods and forget they are human like us, having lives, families and such.

    • John Sarkis profile imageAUTHOR

      John Sarkis 

      10 years ago from Winter Haven, FL

      Thanks Debbie! Yes, I wrote this article with the sole purpose of getting people to know "The Other Darwin."

      Take care,


    • Ask_DJ_Lyons profile image


      10 years ago from Mosheim, Tennessee

      John, I had never thought about Charles Darwin having a son. Silly of me, of course. It's just that the thought never occurred to me. It makes sense that he would have inherited some of his father's abilities and passions. This was very interesting. Thank you!

      Best wishes,

      Debbie aka DJ Lyons


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)