Born OTD in 1809, English naturalist, geologist and biologist, best known for his contributions to the science of evolution, Charles Darwin. His proposition that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestors is now widely accepted, and considered a foundational concept in science.

Darwin’s theory of natural selection issued a profound challenge to orthodox thought and belief: no being or species has been … More

Born OTD in 1842, Russian activist, zoologist, scientist, geographer, & philosopher who advocated anarcho-communism, Peter Kropotkin. The essays, initially published in the English periodical ‘The 19th Century’ between 1890 & 1896, explore the role of mutually-beneficial cooperation & reciprocity (or “mutual aid”) in the animal kingdom & human societies both past & present. It is an argument against theories of social Darwinism that emphasize competition and survival of the fittest.

Writing partly in response to Social Darwinism, Kropotkin draws on his scientific knowledge to illustrate the phenomenon of cooperation. After … More

Over 7 billion people depend on plants for healthy, productive, secure lives, but few of us stop to consider the origin of the plant kingdom that turned the world green and made our lives possible. And as the human population continues to escalate, our survival depends on how we treat the plant kingdom & the soils that sustain it. Understanding the evolutionary history of our land floras, the story of how plant life emerged from water and conquered the continents to dominate the planet, is fundamental to our own existence.

In Making Eden David Beerling reveals the hidden history of Earth’s sun-shot greenery, and considers its future prospects as we … More

Born OTD in 1809, English naturalist, geologist & biologist, best known for his contributions to the science of evolution, Charles Darwin. Darwin’s book introduced the scientific theory that populations evolve over the course of generations through a process of natural selection. It presented a body of evidence that the diversity of life arose by common descent through a branching pattern of evolution. Darwin included evidence that he had gathered on the Beagle expedition in the 1830s & his subsequent findings from research, correspondence, and experimentation.

The book was written for non-specialist readers and attracted widespread interest upon its publication. As Darwin was an eminent scientist, … More

Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) is the great lost scientist – more things are named after him than anyone else. There are towns, rivers, mountain ranges, the ocean current that runs along the South American coast, there’s a penguin, a giant squid – even the Mare Humboldtianum on the moon.

His colourful adventures read like something out of a Boy’s Own story: Humboldt explored deep into the rainforest, climbed the … More