Events held in conjunction with the National Museum of Australia and American Museum of Natural History’s Darwin exhibition, to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of one of the world’s great thinkers.
Charles Darwin symposium welcome and introduction
Museum director Craddock Morton launches a symposium for examining and understanding the life and times of Charles Darwin, the impact of his published work and his scientific legacy. Includes an introduction by ABC Radio National science broadcaster Robyn Williams.
A lunatic idea: British science and evolution on the eve of Darwin’s Origin of Species
Historian Iain McCalman explores the dominant scientific attitudes to ideas of evolution in Britain in the years before Darwin’s Origin was published. He explains why evolution was widely regarded as a lunatic theory and was resisted so fiercely.
Charles Darwin: his character and convictions
Historian Tom Frame explores Charles Darwin’s personal profile and describes the impact of his scientific views, attitudes and opinions on religion.
Darwin’s experiences in Australia
Frank Nicholas from the School of Veterinary Science outlines Charles Darwin’s visit to Australia on the HMS Beagle in 1836. What Darwin saw contributed to the wealth of evidence he assembled from around the world showing that species have evolved.
‘A theory to work with’: On The Origin of Species and its contemporary reception
Historian Paul Turnbull summarises Charles Darwin’s arguments in Origin, its diverse reception in British and European circles from 1860 to 1900, and how the natural history of humanity came to be envisaged in Darwinian terms.
Social reactions to Origin
Historian Barry Butcher explores the work of four Australians who contributed to the growing corpus of Darwinian science from the 1860s to the 1890s: William Edward Hearn, Robert David Fitzgerald, Walter Baldwin Spencer and Alexander Sutherland.
Darwin and social Darwinism: the political use and abuse of natural selection
Historian Tony Barta examines to what extent Charles Darwin’s ideas were misused by others and discusses the tragic effect of Darwinian eugenics in Australia and Germany.
Human evolution: fossils surprising, fossils predicted
Archaeologist Colin Groves outlines the fossil history of human evolution. He examines how some parts of the human fossil record appear to depict gradual change, while others seem better interpreted by the model of punctuated equilibria.
Evolution and creationism
Theologian Neil Ormerod examines debates over creationism, creation science and intelligent design, and how they muddied the waters of what was held in the Catholic Encyclopedia over 100 years ago regarding the theory of evolution.
Evolutionary change in agriculture – the past, present and future
The impact of adaptation and evolution on the development of modern agricultural crops and the use of genetically modified technologies is outlined by evolutionary biologist Jeremy Burdon.
Charles Darwin symposium closing address
Science journalist and broadcaster Robyn Williams presents a humorous summary of proceedings from the Charles Darwin symposium.
Charles Darwin series 09 Dec 2008
Darwin exhibition opening
Writer, lawyer and former science minister Barry Jones opens the Charles Darwin exhibition.