Statue of Charles Darwin at the Natural History Museum in London. Image courtesy

Published in 1859, Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection makes sense of the great diversity of complex life. International Darwin Day honors Darwin’s curiosity, intellectual bravery, and his lasting contribution to the life sciences. It is celebrated on February 12, Darwin’s birthday.

As evolutionary theory is central to our understanding of complex biological and social systems, SFI has pulled together a few resources by our faculty to better understand Darwin and his work. To feed your intellectual curiosity, check out the following Darwin-related insights by SFI’s faculty:

This year, External Professor Simon DeDeo helped analyze Darwin's reading journals, and uncovered a surprising shift toward 'high levels of cognitive surprise' in the naturalist's late-life reads. Read the article in the British Psychological Society's Research Digest. Or, check out "3 Things You Might Not Know About Charles Darwin" on NPR.

In "A Wide-Ranging Conversation with Geoffrey West," (2016) Suzan Mazure of asks Distinguished Professor Geoffrey West about evolution from a physicist's perspective. In Part 1, West discusses moving to the Santa Fe Institute and applying concepts from high-energy physics to biology. In Part II, he describes how his physics background gave him a different notion of Darwinian natural selection. Read the blog in The Huffington Post.

Geoffrey West also participated in Darwin's Birthday Debate in 2006 at the Natural History Museum in London.

In 2014, Science Board member Andreas Wagner answered a longstanding question to Darwin's evolutionary theory by accounting for "The Arrival of the Fittest." Find the book on amazon or read the book review in Scientific American.

Also in 2014, External Professor Brian Enquist and colleagues tested one of Darwin's predictions and proved it right. Read the article in the Colorado College Bulletin.

Finally, the 45-minute documentary "Darwin's Extra Sense" (2013) by External Professor Dan Rockmore, Wendy Conquest, and Bob Drake tells the story of how the mathematical articulation of heredity saved Charles Darwin’s initially flawed theory of evolution. Watch the video through Dartmouth College's website.