Tag Archives: Charles Darwin

Animality revisited in times of the coronavirus: A fable

Frank Gonzalez-Crussi Chicago, Illinois, United States   Figure 1. Jacob Savery (1566-1603). Orpheus among the animals. From Wikimedia. Imagine, as painters have done, representatives of animal species congregated in an assembly (Fig. 1). A man comes to address this motley crowd in this way: “You guys [he purposefully adopts this condescending language] have recently wronged […]

The X Club

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Fig. 1 TH Huxley Wikipedia: This work is in the public domain Charles Babbage, who conceived the first automatic digital computer, published in 1830 Reflections on the Decline of Science in England. This stimulated the formation of several new groups that aimed to further scientific progress and exchange […]

Eugenics: historic and contemporary

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Moral judgments, changing ethical criteria, and the broader concepts of good and evil are always controversial, and often dangerous. Prominent amongst such judgments are those relating to population control and the wider, ill-defined field of eugenics. Hidden, and often ignored or denied in these conversations, is the underlying […]

The illness of Tom Wedgwood: a tragic episode in a family saga

John Hayman Melbourne, Australia   Figure 1. Tom Wedgwood, from the frontispiece of Tom Wedgwood, the First Photographer, by R.B. Litchfield (1903). The inscription reads: “From a chalk drawing belonging to Miss Wedgwood, of Leith Hill Place. Artist unknown.” Print in public domain. Tom Wedgwood (1771-1805) was born into the famous pottery dynasty as the […]

Charles Darwin’s illnesses

There is a prevalent consensus that most of Charles Darwin’s lifelong symptoms are not attributable to organic disease.1-5 It would seem unlikely that he contracted chronic Chagas disease in South America, because his symptoms began before he ever set foot on the HMS Beagle.2 His various complaints were intermittent, many improved with age, and he […]

Alfred Russel Wallace

JMS Pearce Hull, United Kingdom   Fig 1. Alfred Russel Wallace. Public Domain Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913) conceived the original idea of evolution by natural selection entirely independently of Charles Darwin.1 In the north choir aisle of Westminster Abbey, next to Charles Darwin’s memorial, is a white marble roundel with a profile relief bust to […]

Why did Darwin drop out of medical school?

Richard Brown and Thalia Garvock-de Montbrun Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada   Plaque on the National Museum of Scotland where Darwin lived while studying medicine at the University of Edinburgh.  Erasmus Alvey (Ras) Darwin, the elder brother of Charles Darwin, completed six months of hospital training in Edinburgh in 1825-26 and then went to London to study at […]

Charles Harrison Blackley: The man who put the hay in hay fever

Julian Crane Wellington, New Zealand    Charles Harrison Blackley Since the 1950s, and especially since the 1980s, there has been a worldwide increase in the prevalence of allergic diseases, asthma, hay fever, and eczema. In the last twenty years the most notable manifestation of this trend has been the rapid rise in food allergy in […]

Darwin at the Chinese opera

Sam Shuster United Kingdom I am grateful to Milky Man Shan Cheung, Administrative Coordinator at the Chinese Opera Information Centre, and Phil Olsen of Beard Team USA for their help in acquiring research materials and images for this paper. I would also like to thank the National Library of China for the use of its […]