Darwin, Charles - Research Article from Macmillan Science Library: Plant Sciences

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Darwin, Charles

English Naturalist 1809-1882

Charles Darwin was probably the most influential scientist of the nineteenth century. He is best known for his revolutionary ideas that species transmute, or evolve, by means of the primary mechanism of natural selection, ideas he set forth in his great work On the Origin of Species in 1859. This work shaped intellectual, political, and philosophical attitudes of the nineteenth century and fundamentally transformed humanity's understanding of its origins in terms of natural rather than supernatural causes. Though deemed controversial, his ideas continued to hold sway through the twentieth century. For these reasons, he is generally regarded as not only one of the great figures of the history of science, but also one of the great figures of the western intellectual tradition.

Early Life and Background

Charles Robert Darwin was born on February 12, 1809, in Shrewsbury, England, into a wealthy, distinguished family. His...

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This section contains 2,928 words
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Darwin, Charles from Macmillan. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.