200 years ago Charles Darwin was born and changed us forever.
This guy realized –and proved– that all species have evolved over time from common ancestors through a process he called natural selection. “Arguably the most powerful idea ever”, or at least a neat thought which eventually killed Adam and Eve.
Evolution had started, growing up together with Mendel’s patterns of heredity, the discovery of DNA or the developmental biology. Before him we had no clue about life; philosophers, scientists, religious people, politicians, … all had said many things before, but it had to be Darwin the one to put as on the right track.
Once again, many thanks Charles and happy birthday!
I have to admit that Charles is an amazing guy. When he was slightly younger than me (22 at that time) he joined a two years expedition around the world. Well, he thought it was going to be just two years, but it finally took five.
The main aim of the expedition was basically to do some hydrographic surveys (gathering information about navigable waters) of the coasts of the southern part of South America, but he seized the opportunity to do some personal geological research as well. And he collected a nice bunch of fossils during that time.
When the expedition finished he published a couple of books explaining the trip. First a journal that became an immediate best-seller, some years later he wrote a more technical book which changed everything. You can easily find more information about that book in the Internet, but basically what it says is the following: “All we knew about life until know was wrong, just a lucubration. We can through away all papers which have been written so far and start over. Good news is that now we have a clue.”
Charles is now dead, and buried next to another guy who did pretty much the same in another interesting field. We live interesting times, but it would have been great to meet you guys.
Happy birthday Charles, and many thanks!