Charles Darwin, naturalist, scholar, and explorer, was born on February 12, 1809, and scientists across the globe continue to celebrate his achievements. Our department will contribute to the Darwin Days events by showing three TED talks related to the evolution of microbes, disease, and immune responses, and the directed evolution of viruses for energy production. Following these clips will be a discussion on evolution as it relates to microbiology in general and the research we do in VMS specifically. Everyone is welcome to participate in this discussion on Thursday, February 14 at 11 a.m. in Van Es 101.
In addition to the discussion VMS will sponsor, the Departments of Biological Sciences and Geosciences, College of Science and Mathematics, and the Environmental and Conservation Sciences Graduate Program are sponsoring many additional events:
Tuesday. February 12
The History of Life Recorded in the Rocks (especially in North Dakota) Adam Lewis, Ph.D., Department of Geosciences, NDSU 7-8 p.m., Fargo Public Library – Main Library 102 3rd St. N.
Thursday. February 14
Hall of Biodiversity Noon-4:30 p.m., Memorial Union Meadowlark room
Movie: Intelligent Design on Trial 12:30-2:30 p.m., Memorial Union Century Theater
Celebrate Darwin’s Birthday with Cake 2:30-3 p.m., Memorial Union Butte Lounge
Sharks, Sandlance and Sticky Fish – Adventures in Biomechanics Adam Summers, Ph.D., Friday Harbor Laboratory, University of Washington 3-4 p.m., Memorial Union Century Theater
Surfing Cambrian Coasts James Hagadorn, Ph.D., Denver Museum of Nature and Science 5-6 p.m., Stevens 136, pizza will be served
Darwin was a 19th century British naturalist best known for his theory of evolution by natural selection. It wasn’t an idea that came quickly or obviously. Instead, it was a notion that developed over two decades and was informed by many things, such as: (1) Principles of Geology by Charles Lyell (2) Thomas Malthus’s ideas on population, including his observation that plants and animals often overproduce offspring (3) Darwin’s collaboration with fellow naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace and, perhaps most significantly, (4) Darwin’s observations of finches in the Galapagos Islands. It was a five year scientific expedition aboard the HMS Beagle that brought him to the islands, 500 miles west of South America. Here, he recognized that each island supported a unique form of finch, but that there also seemed to be some relatedness between all the finches.
Darwin and Wallace announced a theory of evolution by natural selection in 1858, and in the following year, Darwin published On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. It would initially be a controversial hypothesis, but has since become the “new orthodoxy” for explaining and understanding the diversity of life.