Happy Darwin Day and 200 years of HMS Beagle!

12th February 2020

On 12th February, Darwin Day is celebrated as the anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birthday in 1809. Organisations across the globe celebrate International Darwin Day as an opportunity to inspire people throughout the globe to reflect and act on the principles of intellectual bravery, perpetual curiosity, scientific thinking, and hunger for truth as embodied in Charles Darwin. It is a day of celebration, activism, and international cooperation for the advancement of science, education, and human well-being.

HMS Beagle was the ship that carried Charles Darwin as he gathered evidence fundamental in supporting his theory of evolution. In the year 2020, Rochford District Council will mark the bicentenary of the launch of this ship. As part of the “Discover 2020: 200 years of HMS Beagle” festival in May 2020, Professor Richard Oliver will present critical discoveries made by Charles Darwin:

“HMS Beagle made three major voyages between 1826 and 1843. The second voyage, with Darwin on board, is arguably the most important event in the history of biology. The story of scientific plant pathology can be dated to the Irish potato famine studied by Berkeley in 1847 and was followed when the germ theory of disease was accepted following work by Pasteur and Koch in the 1880s. Darwin observed diseases on wheat during the 2nd voyage and made collections of potatoes which he later suggested could be used to combat the potato blight. Plant virologists can also celebrate the fact that Nicotiana benthamiana was collected during the 3rd voyage of HMS Beagle in Northern Australia.”

On International Darwin Day, see Richard below introducing this 2020 event, supported by the British Society of Plant Pathology and visit the Discover 2020 project for more information.