International Darwin Day is observed on February 12 of every year. International Darwin Day celebrates the anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin on 12 February 1809, and it is a day to celebrate science and humanity. Charles Darwin, the English naturalist, changed the field of natural history by putting forth the theory of evolution by natural selection. His book “The Origin of Species,” published in 1859, claimed that all present-day life forms on Earth came from a single ancestor. Diversity in the animal and plant kingdom came with natural selection, extinction, migration, and genetic mutations.
“A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.” – Charles Darwin
History of International Darwin Day
Since the death of Charles Darwin on 19th April 1882, the celebration of Darwin’s Work and the tributes to his life have been conducted sporadically. Until the death of his wife in 1842, events have taken place at Down House, where Darwin and his family lived. In 1909, more than 400 scientists and dignitaries worldwide met in Cambridge to honor Darwin’s contributions. At the same time, the 100th birth anniversary of Darwin was celebrated by the New York Academy of Sciences on 12th February 1909 at the American Museum of Natural History. The Royal Society of New Zealand conducted a “Darwin celebration” on June 2, 1909. Sometimes, scientists and academics have celebrated February 12 with the “Phylum feast” events. Since 1980, Salem State College in Massachusetts, United States of America, has conducted a “Darwin Festival” annually. In 2005, they registered the “Darwin Festival” as a service mark with the US Patent and Trademark Office.
In late 1993, Dr. Robert Stephens motivated the Humanist Community to start planning for the celebration of “Darwin Day” annually. Stanford Humanists student group and the Humanist Community, on April 22, 1995, sponsored the first public Darwin Day event, which was a lecture by Dr. Donald Johanson. The Humanist Community continued its celebration of Darwin, science, and humanity on February 12 annually. Professor Massimo Pigliucci started the annual “Darwin Day” event with the students and colleagues at the University of Tennessee in 1997. Delaware’s governor, Jack Markell, in 2015, declared February 12 “Charles Darwin Day.” On February 2, 2015, Jim Himes in the United States House of Representatives declared February 12 as International Darwin Day in the United States of America. They declared “International Darwin Day” to celebrate Darwin’s contributions to science and humanity.
Other Celebrations on February 12
February 12 is also celebrated as
How to Celebrate International Darwin Day
The best way to celebrate International Darwin Day is by learning about the concept of “Evolution” and the concept of “Natural Selection.” It is often a misunderstood concept, with people mistaking ‘Survival of the Fittest’ for ‘Survival of the Best’ and failing to understand that ‘fittest’ is for a particular set of circumstances. Read the book “Origin of Species” published by Charles Darwin in 1859. Learn more about the contribution made by Charles Darwin. Post pictures and share your thoughts about International Darwin Day using the hashtag #DarwinDay.
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