Today, I’m just going to summarise 1 out of 2 of the 9 chapters in the book ‘Darwin, a very short introduction’ by Jonathan Howard. Here we go:
Darwin led a relatively simple life in the fact that he had only lived in three places during his career in science, first spending 5 years travelling around the world on the Beagle where his theory of evolution first began, before settling in London and for the remainder of his life, a few miles near the South of London.
Darwin also kept a biography and detailed private notes on his discoveries and theories which, thanks to this, we are now able to know about evolution. As Darwin’s time was a time it was a traditional celebration of a great man’s death , along with this he wrote letters to many scientists who kept them
Darwin was born in 1809 in a town called Shrewsbury, Shropshire where his father, Erasmus Darwin , was a doctor and his mother was the daughter of the founder of pottery , Josiah Wedgwood , although he was raised by his sister as his mother died when Darwin was 8 years old.
Darwin went to Edinburgh university as a medical student but left the field of medicine and transferred to Cambridge university, with the wish of becoming a priest but Cambridge was the place where he began to take a great interest in Science and which led to Darwin , at the age of 22, to go on what would be over 100 years later a famous expedition on the HMS Beagle.
During the first 5 years on the Beagle, Darwin wrote developed his theory of evolution in the form of 900 private notes and although he didn’t intend to publish his notes, he ended up publishing his work. In 1839,he published a document called ‘Journal of Researches’ where he described what had taken place during his voyage in the HMS Beagle and what he had discovered , which then went on to become a popular travel book in the 19th century before again publishing geological results in the form of three volumes of text.
At the same time as the Journal of Researches was published, he married his cousin Emma Wedgwood and then had their first child in 1841. At 1842, Darwin’s health began to deteriorate and he would display symptoms of nausea, insomnia and intestinal pains, all of which did not stop him from continuing to work . Some say that the disease Darwin suffered from for 45 years before his death was called Chagas disease, some Crohns disease and some cyclical vomiting disease(have a look at this link for more information: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2009/dec/14/charles-darwin-cyclical-vomiting-syndrome , http://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-news/dead-famous-dna-charles-darwin-3337775 )just like Charles Darwin’s Origin of species book was the first at the time it was publishes, there’s obviously a bit of speculation as to what he had suffered from for such a long time. It could have been as a result of psychological trauma following the death of many of his children during his lifetime.
17 years late in 1859, Darwin eventually published ‘The Origin of Species By Means Of Natural Selection Or The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle For Life’ where, as you may have learnt at school once upon a time, produced a reaction from the public and scientists alike and were mentioned in newspapers, magazines and in scientific assemblies. The concepts were Darwin described also challenged religious beliefs that God made the plants and animals on Earth as they were and according to scientists, Darwin did not produce enough evidence to support evolution by natural selection.
Darwin’s work has influence many scientists and ordinary people alike in his day and continues to do so even now. Darwin had inherited his family’s wealth so that he would never have to work a day in his life if he wanted to and the money he received from the books he published meant that he lived and died a rich man, even though there was no recognition from the Royal Society of his work until after his death.