February 12, 1809 – April 19, 1882
It has been 130 years since the famous scientist, Charles Darwin, passed away at age 73. He is known for his theory of evolution and more specifically, the theory of natural selection. As The New York Times noted in his obituary…
The announcement that Charles Robert Darwin died on Wednesday at his residence, Down House, near Orpington, will be read by very few individuals who have not some degree of acquaintance with the physical theories formulated and taught by this distinguished naturalist, however scanty may be their actual knowledge of his works.1
Darwin’s mark on science is undeniable, given the significance of The Origin of Species, which details Darwin’s theory of evolution in 1859. While his work is still controversial to some, others proclaim, “His ingenious idea, hardened by an overwhelming multitude of proofs, gave us the key to understand all life on earth in its complexity and diversity – and all possible life on any planet.”2
Darwin had ten children, two of whom died young and a few others followed in their father’s footsteps into the world of science. Darwin was buried at Westminster Abbey in London. This final resting place is truly an honor as “Westminster Abbey in London functions as neither a cathedral nor a parish church, but is controlled by the royal crown and has been used as the site for the Royal Coronation since 1066. Burial there is one of the rarest and greatest of British honors, and Darwin was so honored; he rests there in the area known as ‘Scientist’s Corner…'”3 where another scientist, Sir Issac Newton, is also laid to rest.
On another note, Darwin was born on February 12, 1809, which also happens to be Abraham Lincoln’s birthday; 172 years later, on February 12, 1981, I was born. I have always said that I just have to do something greater than the Emancipation Proclamation and Natural Selection to stake my claim in history.
3 Tod Benoit, Where Are They Buried? (New York: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, Inc.), 506-507.