Charles Darwin, Naturalist Famous for Origin of Species and Theory of Evolution. Brief biography of English scientist Charles Darwin, credited for originating the theory of evolution by natural selection. Darwin was a prominent English naturalist who achieved fame by convincing the world that the origin of species developed by natural and sexual selection over time. Together with Alfred Wallace, Darwin originated the theory of evolution.
His theories in which this phenomenon was explained are central to the modern understanding the evolution as the unifying theory of the life sciences, essential in biology, and important in other areas of disciplines. Contrary to Darwin’s theory, French philosopher Henri Bergson argued that the heart of the evolution is the elan vital, the creative impulse that shapes all life, and not by Darwin’s natural selection.
Early Life of Charles Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin (February 12 1809 – April 19 1882) was born in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, the grandson of Erasmus Darwin and of Josiah Wedgwood. He was educated at Shrewsbury grammar school, studied medicine at Edinburgh University, where he joined the Plinian Society, a group of natural history students. He took part in its natural history excursions and read his first scientific paper in it.
With a view to entering the church, he went to Christ’s College in Cambridge, 1828. He developed his interest in natural history while studying medicine, and then theology. His biological studies began in Cambridge when the botanist John Henslow encouraged him in zoology and geology. Henslow recommended him as naturalist to HMS Beagle, captained by Robert Fitzroy, at that time was about to start for a scientific survey of South American seas.
Darwin’s Beagle Voyage
His five-year voyage on the Beagle established him as a geologist. His observations and theorizing supported Charles Lyell’s uniformitarian ideas. Darwin’s subsequent publication of his voyage journal made him famous as a popular author.
During the passage, Darwin was puzzled by the geographical distribution of wildlife and fossils he collected. He investigated the transmutation of species, and in 1838, he conceived his evolution theory of natural selection. At first he only confided in his closest friends on his research.
Darwin’s Life at Kent in Downe
Darwin lived at Downe, Kent from 1842, where he enjoyed his garden and fowls. The practical knowledge he gained proved invaluable. He was able to devote himself to his interest, science, and addressed himself to the origin of species, the great work of his life.
Darwin and Wallace
In 1858, Alfred Russell Wallace sent him a memoir on the Malay Archipelago that described a similar theory of natural selection to that of Darwin’s. For this, Darwin and Wallace formed a joint publication.
Books by Charles Darwin
On the Origin of Species established evolution by common descent as the eminent scientific explanation of diversification in nature. Two of his books, The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, and The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, examined human origins and features without obvious utility such as bird plumage. His research on plants was published in a series of books, and his final book examined earthworms and their effect on soil.
Darwin’s Family Trivia
Darwin’s son, Sir Francis Darwin, also a botanist, became a Reader in Botany at Oxford and produced his father’s Life and Letters. Another son, Sir George Howard Darwin, was professor of Astronomy at Cambridge. Darwin had great influence on his cousin, Sir Francis Galton, pioneer of Eugenics.
Charles Darwin was buried in Westminster Abbey, close to Isaac Newton.