February 12th

Darwin Day -

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Every year, people around the world gather to celebrate Darwin Day on February 12th, marking the birthday of the renowned scientific figure, Charles Darwin. Born in 1809, Darwin made significant strides in evolutionary biology that forever changed the scientific landscape.

Darwin Day comprises various activities and events in honour of Darwin’s legacy, including educational seminars, film viewings, and intellectual discussions. These events aim to cultivate public interest in the science and inherent curiosity that powered Darwin’s groundbreaking work. From dinner celebrations to spirited debates, Darwin Day offers a dynamic exploration of scientific discovery and human curiosity.

History of Darwin Day

Charles Robert Darwin, born on the 12th of February in 1809 in the town of Shrewsbury, England, was a renowned British naturalist recognized predominantly for his groundbreaking contributions to the theory of evolution.

Beginning his academic journey at the University of Edinburgh with the intention to pursue medicine, he soon realized it wasn’t for him. Consequently, he attended Cambridge University, with plans to become a clergyman. However, his genuine interest always lay in the complexities of nature and the variety of life.

In the year 1831, Darwin started a five-year exploration journey on board the HMS Beagle, serving as a naturalist. This voyage was key to shaping his evolutionary theories, as it provided him the opportunity to investigate diverse species across the globe.

His most celebrated work, “On the Origin of Species,” saw publication in 1859. In this book, he put forth his theory that species change and adapt over time through a mechanism known as natural selection. It explained the processes driving evolution, elevating it from a mere observation to an explained biological phenomenon.

Although his work proved controversial and attracted criticism, particularly from religious institutions, he remained undeterred and continued his pioneering research.

Recognized as one of the most impactful figures in human history, Darwin’s evolutionary theory revolutionized our understanding of nature and our own role in it. He passed away on 19th April 1882.

Darwin Day Timeline


Charles Robert Darwin was born on February 12, 1809, in Shrewsbury, England.

Start of Medical Studies

Darwin started his medical studies at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Voyage of the Beagle

Darwin embarked on a five-year survey voyage around the world on the HMS Beagle.

Formation of Theory

Darwin formulated his theory of natural selection.

Publication of 'Voyage of the Beagle'

Darwin's journal 'Voyage of the Beagle' was published which gained him a reputation as a respected geologist.

Theory Publicly Revealed

Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace presented joint papers to the Linnean Society, revealing their independent discoveries of the theory of evolution by natural selection.

'On the Origin of Species' Published

Darwin’s book 'On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection' was published, pioneering the study of biological evolution.

'The Descent of Man' Published

Darwin published 'The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex', where he outlined his theory of evolution, including human evolution.


Charles Darwin died on April 19, 1882.

First Celebration of Darwin Day

On the 100th anniversary of Darwin's birth, his contributions to science were celebrated in Cambridge, New York, and New Zealand.

Ideas to Celebrate Darwin Day

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Evolutionary Book Club

Gather a party of folks who share an appreciation for Darwin's work. A reading and discussion of his influential book 'On the Origin of Species' is a wonderful way to stimulate rich dialogue about evolutionary science and biodiversity.

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Nature Walk and Observation

Conduct a group outing to a natural space to engage with the environment, much like Darwin. Encourage everyone to note or sketch the diverse species they encounter, fostering a sense of wonder about the natural world.

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Darwin Day Lecture or Webinar

Organize an enlightening talk with a biological science scholar or someone specializing in evolutionary studies. The talk could highlight Darwin's revolutionary theories or the repercussions of his work on contemporary science.

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Evolution Themed Movie Night

Arrange a movie night where films or documentaries centered on Darwin's life, the concept of evolution, or the natural world are screened. Consider titles like 'Inherit The Wind' and 'Creation' for your viewing list.

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Classroom activities

Educators can commemorate Darwin Day with special learning activities like drawing timelines of earth's evolutionary history or simulating the journey of HMS Beagle, thereby imparting knowledge about Darwin's impactful work.

6 Interesting Facts About Charles Darwin


Father of 10 Children

In addition to his remarkable work in the field of biology, Darwin was a family-oriented individual. Together with Emma Darwin, his wife, they parented 10 children. This large family was actively involved in assisting him in his work. Impressively, amongst his children, three were knighted and attained commendable achievements within the arts and science sectors.


Did not initially publish his evolution theory

His revolutionary theory on the 'Origin of Species' underwent nearly 20 years of refinement before its ultimate publication. Darwin began his work around the 1830s but delayed its publication until 1859 due to the apprehension of potential societal and religious backlash.


A Medical School Dropout

Before his journey into naturalism, Darwin made an attempt to pursue a career in medicine like his father and grandfather. Despite enrolling in medical school at the age of 16, he was repelled by the tedious classes and distressing surgeries, eventually causing him to abandon the profession.


Darwin Was a Gourmet

In his university days, Darwin relished in experimenting with exotic dishes as part of the 'Gourmet Club'. Some unusual items on the menu included various kinds of hawk and bittern. His adventurous palate extended to the creatures he tasted during his time on the HMS Beagle, which included armadillos and rheas.


Influenced by a Geologist

Charles Lyell’s 'Principles of Geology' was a highly influential book for Darwin. It argued that landscapes evolved over extensive periods due to slow-acting processes, an idea that greatly informed Darwin’s perspective on natural selection.


Global Journey on the Beagle

Although Darwin’s work on the Galapagos Islands is highly acclaimed, it was only a minor component of his extensive global trip aboard the HMS Beagle. This venture spanned approximately five years and had a significant impact on his understanding and subsequent theories about natural selection.

Darwin Day FAQs

Next Darwin Day Dates

Year Date Day
2023 February 12th Sunday
2024 February 12th Monday
2025 February 12th Wednesday
2026 February 12th Thursday
2027 February 12th Friday
What is the pattern? Every February 12th

Darwin Day Word Search

  • Darwin
  • Evolution
  • Species
  • Naturalist
  • Biology
  • Adaptation