I arrived in the office this morning to the excellent news that three of our Fellows, including our President Dame Nancy Rothwell, made the top 20 of the Women’s Hour Power List. This was fantastic recognition of the contribution scientists make to our society, and appropriate on a day of celebration of science and humanity: Darwin Day.
Darwin Day is an international celebration of the discoveries and life of Charles Darwin. More generally, Darwin Day was founded to expresses gratitude for the enormous benefits that scientific knowledge has contributed to the advancement of humanity.
Evolutionary biology has provided huge benefits to people (even those who don’t believe in evolution!). Our understanding of evolution has had a vast impact on biological sciences, with practical implications such as sound conservation policies and crop improvement techniques, and also on the way we view the world. Human evolution and genetic similarity, for example, make racism impossible to justify. Likewise, our understanding and acceptance of human behaviour has been greatly enhanced by knowledge of our origins.
Human evolution has ensured that celebrations are an important part of culture, creating a bond between people who share excitement. Darwin Day is designed to recognise the diversity among us, while celebrating our common humanity and universal understanding.
You can celebrate by sending an ecard!
For me, much of Darwin Day so far has been spent planning a celebration of our own, Biology Week. If you can help share the fascination of the biological sciences please get in touch – we hope people around the UK and beyond will hold events. When it comes to benefits that biology and biologists bring to society, there’s a lot to celebrate.
I’ll leave you with the Virtual School‘s Darwin song: