Charles R. Darwin "Why is that so?"


Persistent, Curious, Naturalist

Son of Robert Waring Darwin, husband of Emma Wedgwood

Who loved collecting, experimenting, and thinking for himself

Who was curious, very successful, and determined to finish what he started

Who feared not being able to support his family, feared succumbing to sickness before completing his theory, and feared age would disrupt his work

Who became successful geologist and biologist, thought about natural selection, and taught scientists to ask questions

Who wanted to see natural selection be accepted and wanted to see why things he observed was that way.

Born in The Mount, Shrewsbury, England




Charles Darwin was a geologist and a biologist. He is most famous for his work about Natural Selection, but, not many know that he was a great geologist. In fact, he would be known as a great geologist, even if he didn't come up with natural selection. The life of this revolutionary thinker is much different from what many thing it was like.

Early Years

Charles Darwin was born on February 12, 1809. His father was Robert Waring Darwin, or Dr. Darwin, and his mother Susanna Wedgewood Darwin, who died before Charles turned 8.. As a young boy, Charles loved the outdoors and had a interest in collecting. Before his school days, Charles was taught by his sister, Caroline. At age 9, he was enrolled into a private boarding school, called the Shrewsbury School. He was bored by the lectures and was interested in science, not classic Greek and Roman literature. For a while, Charles didn't know what profession to take when he grew up, though he was surprisingly nonchalant to the fact.

The Voyage

In 1831, Charles was inspired to become a naturalist by a book of Alexander von Humboldt's adventures. He decided to go on a expedition to the Canary Islands. In August, he was invited on an expedition to survey the southeastern coast of South America, on a ship called the Beagle. Charles accepted and set off on the ship. The expedition lasted from May 22, 1826 to October 14, 1830. The first stop was to the Canary Islands, where Charles wanted to go, but, they were not allowed to get off the ship there in fear of Cholera, a disease caused by infected water. Along each stop on the voyage, Charles recorded observations of fossils, animals, and plants he found. But, he mostly thought about himself as a geologist, he didn't think to much about the specimens he observed.

The Discovery Of Natural Selection

When Charles went back home, he received shocking news. On the islands, he found what he thought were four distinct species of birds. He sent them back to a scientist to be examined like the rest of his specimens. Back in England, he was told that the four "distinct species" were closely related finches. At the time, it was believed that god made all species specially adapted to their environment, but this new piece of evidence contradicted that belief. After more and more research, Charles came up with the idea of natural selection.

Personal Life

In 1838, Charles married Emma Wedgewood, his cousin, and they had 10 children. Emma helped take care of Charles for he was very sick and often overworked. His children helped Charles in his studies. One, Francis Darwin even became a plant phycologist. Charles's family helped him relax his mind when overwhelmed with his studies.


Not everyone was enthusiastic about his ideas. For example, the Catholic church had a lot of power. If natural selection was proved correct, it would be proving the catholic church's theory of god creating all species wrong, therefore greatly reducing their power. There was a great conflict between god and natural selection. Charles was also severely sick in his later years. This greatly slowed down his studies. In fact, the sickness lasted for 40 years and Charles's habit of overworking did not help. Despite his severe sickness significantly slowing down his progress, he is still one of the most respected scientist.

His Legacy

He is well known for his great work in biology and his theory of natural selection. Although scientists have been making improvements to his idea, none of biology would make sense without him. He was also a great geologist, but, his work in geology was overshadowed by his theory of natural selection. Most importantly, he was curious. When he had a question or doubt, he would try to answer it himself. When he learned something, he didn't just accept it, he asked "Why is that so?". He taught others to ask why, and that helped people discover more, after all, science is for answering questions, and your curiosity produces questions.


Patent, Dorothy Hinshaw. Charles Darwin: The Life of a Revolutionary Thinker. New York: Holiday House, 2001. Print.

EasyBib. Chegg, n.d. Web. 05 Mar. 2017.

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.