CHARLES DARWIN – The Man Who Changed The World Forever
Charles Robert Darwin has been described as one of the most influential figures in human history. He was an Englishnaturalist and geologist. Charles Robert Darwin was born in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England, on 12 February 1809 at his family’s home. He was the second youngest of six children. Darwin came from a long line of scientists. His father, Dr. R.W. Darwin, was as a medical doctor, and his grandfather, Dr. Erasmus Darwin, was a renowned botanist. Darwin’s mother, Susanna, died when he was only 8 years old. Darwin was a child of wealth and privilege who loved to explore nature.
He is best known for his contributions to the science of evolution. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestors and introduced his scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection, in which the struggle for existence has a similar effect to the artificial selection involved in selective breeding.
Darwin published his theory of evolution with compelling evidence in his 1859 book titled “Origin of Species” overcoming scientific rejection of earlier concepts of transmutation of species. By the 1870s, the scientific community and much of the general public had accepted evolution as a fact. Findings of Charles Darwin were further corroborated by the modern evolutionary synthesis from the 1930s to the 1950s and a broad consensus developed in which natural selection was held as the basic mechanism of evolution. In modified form, Darwin’s scientific discovery is the unifying theory of the life sciences, explaining the diversity of life.
Darwin’s early interest in nature led him to neglect his medical education at the University of Edinburgh; instead, he helped to investigate marine invertebrates. Studies at the University of Cambridge encouraged his passion for natural science.
Darwin embarked on a five-year survey voyage around the world on the HMS Beagle. His studies of specimens around the globe led him to formulate his theory of evolution and his views on the process of natural selection. His five-year voyage on HMS Beagle established him as an eminent geologist and his observations and theories published in journal of the voyage made him famous as a popular author.
Charles Darwin puzzled by the geographical distribution of wildlife and fossils he collected on the voyage, Darwin began detailed investigations and in 1838 conceived his theory of natural selection. Darwin’s work established evolutionary descent with modification as the dominant scientific explanation of diversification in nature.
Continuing his research in London, Darwin’s work included in the sixth edition of Malthus’s An Essay on the Principle of Population, and on 28 September 1838 he noted its assertion that human “population, when unchecked, goes on doubling itself every twenty five years, or increases in a geometrical ratio“, so that population soon exceeds food supply in what is known as a Malthusian catastrophe.
In 1882 he was diagnosed with what was called “angina pectoris” which then meant coronary thrombosis and disease of the heart. He died on 19 April 1882. His last words were to his family, telling Emma “I am not the least afraid of death – Remember what a good wife you have been to me – Tell all my children to remember how good they have been to me“, then while she rested, he repeatedly told Henrietta and Francis “It’s almost worthwhile to be sick to be nursed by you.