|Born: 12 Feb 1809 in Shrewsbury, UK
Died: 19 Apr 1882 in Downe, UK
Charles Darwin was a British naturalist, who is perhaps the most well known for his theory of evoultion, which he describes in The Origin of Species.
Darwin was born in 1809 in Shrewsbuty, Shropshire, England to doctor/finacnier Robert and Susannah. He had a taste for natural history since the age of 8 and presented his first dicovery, the fact that the spores on oyster shells are actually skate leech eggs. He also learned plant classification and helped manage the collection of the University Museum, now known as the National Museum of Scotland.
Darwin’s iconic book was met with a large degree of controversy not only from the Church, but also from fellow scientists who opposed Darwin’s idea that humans evolved from apes. This is around the time that the famous cartoons portraying Darwin as an ape started circulating. Despite that, Darwinism became a movement consisting of a wide range of evolutionary ideas, explored in works such as Charles Lyell’s Geological Evidences of the Antiquity of Man, Thomas Huxley’s Evidence as to Man’s Place in Nature and Henry Walter Bates’ The Naturalist on the River Amazons.
Darwin’s legacy is that he convinced most scientists that his theory of evolution and descent with modification is correct. Even though few agreed with his theories at the time, he was honored at Cambridge in 1909 (27 years after his death in 1882) by over 400 officials and scientists from around the world. After slight refinements, the theories of evolution and natural selection became scientific consensus in the 1930s.
1853 – Royal Medal
1859 – Wollaston Medal
1864 – Copley Medal