Happy Birthday Darwin!

Charles Darwin

So February 12, 2009 marked the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s Birthday. Cal Tech hosted a lecture that included 2 of my favorite science authors (Michael Shermer and Donald Prothero). Needless to say, I attended.

I won’t go into detail as my explanation would be too wonkish for some friends and too elementary for those who are actually scientists. But these talks covered;

-Darwin’s life, including the gradual and reluctant acceptance and publication of his theory.

-How the fossil record has become far more complete since Darwin’s time, and how this had led not only evolution to be universally accepted in science, but natural selection as they main driving force.

-The disconnect between Biologists (who see mirco-evolution occurring within a span a few generations of small organisms) and Paleontologists (who see macro-evolution having occurred in strata that are separated by), and how they often end up talking 2 different languages.

-A detailed explanation on the painstaking information compiled in ‘simple’ nucleotides, what they code for, when/how they are activated, etc. only to be added to a much larger data set of genes, in an attempt to eventually better understand the genome of a single-celled organism.

Michael Shermer and Chris Casarez
Of course, I got to take a picture with the (in)famous Michael Shermer, and picked up a copy of his highly acclaimed book: The Mind of the Market: Compassionate Apes, Competitive Humans, and other tales from Evolutionary Economics. In fact, I have already finished the book.

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