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Fact of the Day– February 12

It’s been impossible to miss the hoopla surrounding the 200-year anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth.  Whatever you may think about his theories, few people have had such an impact on science and by extension on society.  Here, from MSNBC.com, are three facts you probably DIDN’T know about him:

Iffy on marriage — As a young man, Darwin made a list of marriage’s pros and cons. Cons included loss of time and no reading in the evening. Pros included companionship (“better than a dog anyhow”) and children. In the end, he concluded: “Marry — Marry. Marry Q.E.D.” Q.E.D. stands for the Latin phrase “quod erat demonstrandum,” which is used at the end of mathematical proofs to indicate that the proof is complete.

Almost scooped — In the late 1850s, it became clear to Darwin that British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace also had come up with a similar theory of evolution.  This sparked Darwin into high gear to finish On the Origin of Species. Scientists with the Linnean Society of London resolved the “who was first” question by presenting both men’s work jointly in July 1858. Darwin later got most of the credit for evolutionary theory, because he had worked out the theory in greater detail.

Stinky feet — At age 12, Darwin confessed in a letter that he only washed his feet once a month at school, due to a lack of anything with which to wash.

Read the whole piece.

darwin Fact of the Day   February 12


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