Charles in Charge

Perhaps the most telling words in all of Charles Darwin’s vast body of writing are inscribed on page 36 of his “B” notebook: “I think,” he wrote, and then laid out his first known sketch of a branching evolutionary tree. This is the first physical evidence of the origin of his On the Origin of Species, and it’s important to note that like the good scientist he was, the full development of this initial thought, jotted down in 1837, was not shared with the world until 1859. Two decades of study and research backed up that “I think,” and within a decade of publication most of the scientific community agreed with him — the Kansas school system “proudly” exempted, of course. Darwin, the new exhibit at the Saint Louis Science Center (5050 Oakland Avenue; 314-289-4400 or www.slsc.org), lays out in a similarly careful manner what the naturalist discovered, how he discovered it and how his world led him to it. Displays of mounted skeletons demonstrate how scientists in Darwin’s day perceived and cataloged the world, an exhibit focusing on his five-year voyage on the Beagle reveals the clues that set him on the track of natural selection, and a video re-creation of Darwin’s “thinking path” that allows you to walk with Darwin as he puzzled it out over many years allow you to complete the journey of thought and investigation that Darwin did. Darwin is open daily through Sunday, August 1, and admission is free.
April 17-Aug. 1, 2010

 
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