20 Nov 2009

Open University participates in international Darwin celebrations

In this bicentenary of Darwin’s birth year, many people still only associate him with his theory on evolution. To celebrate his contributions in many other fields, including arts, history, heritage and language, The Open University, in partnership with the British Council, is publishing a selection of podcasts and short videos to commemorate his legacy.

The materials include a podcast by Jim Moore, Darwin biographer and Professor of the History of Science at The Open University, where he explores the social and scientific context in which Darwin developed his ideas. There is also a short video by Professor Colin Pillinger, Beagle 2 project leader, talking about the mission to land a spacecraft on Mars and the search for HMS Beagle, the ship that took Darwin to South America. The selection further contains poetry by Ruth Padel, a direct descendent of Darwin, and podcasts on Darwin’s World Wide Web, language diversity and cultural evolution.

Dr Caroline Ogilvie, Broadcast and Learning Executive at The Open University, said: “The Open University is delighted to be working in collaboration with the British Council on the Darwin Now project. This global initiative celebrates the life and work of Charles Darwin and the impact his ideas about evolution have on the world today. It has been exciting to have the opportunity to create rich online content which explores the subject of evolution from a variety of perspectives and engages with the public to show the diverse legacy of Darwin’s ideas.”

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species, The Open University will broadcast a British Council hosted debate on 24 November. Darwin, The Origin, and the Future Of Biology will bring together a panel of leaders in the field of evolutionary science and beyond to look at ‘global Darwinism’ and explore how his theory has impacted on society and contributed to our modern understanding of life.

A video cast of the debate will be available on in the afternoon.

Editor's Notes
- In the debate, Professor EO Wilson will give his assessment of the master naturalist, Darwin’s big idea and his own vision for a new system of biology equipped to tackle the threats to our natural world.
He will be joined by an esteemed panel of experts:
Professor Peter Bowler, Queen's University Belfast
Randal Keynes OBE, The Charles Darwin Trust
Dr Sandy Knapp, Natural History Museum
Professor Armand Leroi, Imperial
Ian McEwan, author

- Explore evolution in your own home through The Open University's wall poster, Tree of Life:

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