Charles Darwin


Darwin 200 in St. Andrews

February 2009 marks the bicentennial of Charles Darwin, and also coincides with the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species. 

talk videosVideos of most talks now available

  • Introduction
  • 9th Feb
  • 10th Feb
  • 11th Feb
  • 12th Feb
  • 13th Feb
Darwon and Thistle

By combining thorough observations with valuable information gathered from his contemporaries, Charles Darwin was led to a theory of the origin of species that revolutionized the ideas of the 19th Century.  Today, his ideas have not only become a paradigm within biology, but have profoundly influenced academia in general and are still firmly engaged in contemporary Creation vs Evolution debates.  It is reasonable to suggest that no single book of the 19th Century has a greater influence on 21st Century thought than Darwin’s On the Origin of Species.

This event from St Andrews brings together some of the greatest minds in the University to celebrate and appropriately honour one of Britain’s best known and respected scientists.

We wish to mark this occasion by showing the general public and a new generation of students across academic disciplines how Darwin’s ideas remain central to contemporary research, within and beyond the biological sciences.

Darwin in St Andrews: Enquiries

Darwin 200

darwin montage
These events are supported by:
The University of St Andrews School of Biology
The Society for the Study of Evolution
British Association for the Advancement of Science

Monday 9th of February, 2009

Lecture Theatre C,
Bute Building
University of St Andrews

no booking required

Note: Disabled access to the venue is difficult - if you may require assistance, please
contact us in advance.
Origin of Species Dr John van Wyhe
Director, The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online,
University of Cambridge

Mind the gap: did Darwin avoid publishing his theory for 20 years?

Followed by drinks reception
Bute Building
(Door C)
University of St Andrews
Exhibition Inauguration:
Charles Darwin and his links to St. Andrews

A selection of fascinating correspondence from the University’s special collections displayed alongside beautiful images of plant specimens collected during the Voyage of the Beagle and informative posters designed by Biology students explaining more about Darwin’s life and works.

Open to members of staff and students all week, and to the general public Monday 9th February: 6-7pm, Thursday 12th February: all day, and also on Saturday 14th March (National Science Week):12-5pm.

Tuesday 10th of February, 2009

Lecture Theatre D, Bute Building
University of St Andrews

booking required please email
Prof. Thomas Meagher
School of Biology
Evolution in the Century of Biology: adaptation to societal need

Note: Disabled access to the venue is difficult - if you may require assistance, please let us know when you book.
the good Earth
New Picture House Cinema, North Street, St Andrews
capacity 124 - booking recommended
Film by Stanley Kramer starring Spencer Tracy & Gene Kelly

Inherit the Wind

Classic 1960 movie version of the play about the Scopes "Monkey Trial"... read more...
film poster

Wednesday 11th of February, 2009

Bell Pettigrew Museum, Bute Building
University of St Andrews

no booking required - Staff & Students only
from 'On origin of Speces' contact Nick Scott for details
First meeting of the University of St Andrews 'On the Origin of Species' Reading Group

The first meeting will have a wine reception and friendly conversation of the first chapter 'Variation under Domestication'. (Open to University Staff and Students only.)

Darwin's Day Programme
Thursday 12th of February, 2009

Lecture Theatre C, Bute Building, University of St Andrews
Free all-day event, including tea and coffee but not lunch. Booking not required.

Note: Disabled access to the venue is difficult - if you may require assistance, please contact us in advance.

9.10 - 9.15 Valentina Islas
School of Biology

Chair: Dr. Jeff Graves

9.15-9.30 Prof. Peter Slater
School of Biology
Darwin and Scotland
Darwon and Thistle
9.30-9.45 Prof Richard Abbott
School of Biology
Darwin, the botanist

Prof. Malcolm White
School of Biology
Origin of life


Dr. David Ferrier
School of Biology
The evolution of animal development

Coffee Break

Chair: Dr. Daniel Barker
11.05-11.30 Prof. Mike Ritchie
School of Biology
Origin of species

Prof. Anne Magurran
School of Biology
Evolution of biodiversity


Prof. Pat Willmer
School of Biology


Prof. Andy Whiten
School of Psychology
Evolution of culture

Lunch Break

Chair: Prof. Peter Slater

14.00-14.25 Dr. Gillian Brown
School of Psychology
Evolution of sex-differences
sex differences / culture

Dr. Tecumseh Fitch
School of Psychology
Evolution of language

14.50-15.15 Prof. Kevin Laland
School of Biology
Niche construction and human evolution
15.15-15.40 Dr. Mark Elliott
School of Divinity
Some implications of Darwin's theory for the Christian religion

Coffee Break

Chair: Dr. Iain Matthews

16.10-16.35 Prof. Katherine Hawley
School of Philosophy
Darwinism and human nature
Inherit the Wind
beagle plan

Prof. Peter Clark
School of Philosophy
Darwinism: why science needs metaphysics

17.00-17.25 Dr. Charles Paxton
School of Mathematics & Statistics
Evolution, creationism and education
17.25-17.50 Dr. Robert Prescott
School of History
On the track of the Beagle
17.50 - 17.55 Amy Deacon
School of Biology

Friday 13th of February, 2009

Old Library, School of Psychology
University of St Andrews

Staff & Students only
Nick Scott
dating Professor David Perrett
School of Psychology
Attractiveness and mate selection in humans