Essay on The Life of Charles Darwin

Submitted By tmlohmann
Words: 781
Pages: 4

The Life of Charles Darwin Charles Darwin was born into a wealthy family in Shrewsbury, England on February 12, 1809. His father, Robert Waring Darwin, was a successful physician. Erasmus Darwin, his grandfather, was a physician, philosopher, and famous poet. His mother, Susannah Wedgewood, was the daughter of a famous pottery expert. His name was Josiah Wedgewood and his china is still famous today. From birth, Charles Darwin was bound to have an impact on society. At the age of eight, his mother died and his father sent him to a boarding school near their country home. Bored with the studies of Latin, Greek and Ancient history, Darwin found exploring, observing animals, and collecting interesting objects from nature more fascinating. His lack of interest in school resulted in poor grades. Charles’ frustrated father was concerned “…that the boy would be a disgrace to himself and the family.” (Anderson, page 24) His father enrolled him in Edinburgh University in Scotland to follow in the family foot-steps and become a doctor. Darwin soon realized that medicine was not for him. He thought the lectures were dull and “…he could not stand the horrors of surgery” (Parker, page 6) which were performed without the use of anesthesia. After two years of no success, he decided he could not become a doctor. His disappointed father was determined to find him a career of good standing. In 1828, Charles was sent to Christ College in Cambridge, England to study theology and become a minister. During his time at Cambridge, he became good friends with two professors, geologist Adam Sedgewick and botanist John Henslow. These scientists encouraged him to study science as a career. Both of these men took interest in Darwin and mentored him. Henslow and Charles would take long walks to study nature together. After graduating Cambridge in 1831 with a B.A., Sedgewick invited him to go on a geology field trip through Wales. “While on that field trip, he was offered the position of naturalist on the HMS Beagle, a ship that planned to circumnavigate the globe.” (Wile and Durnell, page 262) The Beagle set sail from England on December 27, 1831. Although Darwin experienced a lot of sea-sickness throughout the excursion, it did not damper his enthusiasm for discovery and adventure. Over the next 5 years, he would collect specimens of all kinds, observe intriguing discoveries like shells in rock cliffs, uncover large fossilized bones and secretly record his puzzling phenomenons into a notebook. The voyage of the Beagle went from England, to Cape Verde Islands, Brazil, almost sailed around the entire coast of South America, then visited the Galapagos Islands, onto Tahiti, southwest Australia, and then stopped at the Cocos Islands. Finally after five years of study and being seasick, Darwin missed home. On October 2, 1836 he landed in England. Leaving behind his biblical upbringing in creationism, Darwin would choose a more geological explanation for his understanding of the natural world. The idea of evolution was being formed. “Charles Darwin saw nature as the product of tiny changes that had been taking place over millions of years.” (Anderson, page 64) Some of his most important findings were