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Darwin Year at the Faculty of Biology

February 2009

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“When on board H.M.S. 'Beagle', as naturalist, I was much struck with certain facts in the distribution of the inhabitants of South America, and in the geological relations of the present to the past inhabitants of that continent. These facts seemed to me to throw some light on the origin of species—that mystery of mysteries, as it has been called by one of our greatest philosophers.”

This is the beginning of the introduction to The Origin of Species, by Charles Darwin (1809-1882). The book was based on Darwin’s round-the world voyage in the Beagle, and in it he proposed his theory of evolution that would so astound the society and the scientific community of the time. Darwin Year 2009 celebrates the 200th anniversary of the birth of the famous naturalist and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his epoch-making work.


During Darwin Year, the Faculty of Biology has planned a series of events that aim to examine the relevance and importance of the theory of evolution today. From 5 January to 30 December, the entrance hall of the Ramon Margalef building will host a bibliographical exhibition of Darwin’s work, containing books from the private collection of Jaume Josa, professor of the Evolution of Biological Thought at the Department of Microbiology. The exhibits include translations of the English naturalist’s most famous books, published during the 19th and 20th centuries in Catalan and Spanish. The exhibition also contains writings on Darwinist thought provided by Mercè Durfort, professor at the Department of Cell Biology.  

From 3 March to 30 December, the Centre for Animal Biodiversity Resources (CRBA) will hold a panel exhibition describing the past and present of the theory of evolution. During the same period the Faculty Library will host a display based on Darwin’s work and times, and the UB Learning and Research Resource Centre (CRAI) will feature a virtual showcase on the English scientist.

From March to May, the Faculty of Biology will hold a series of lectures on the impact of Darwin’s work and the present challenges to Darwinism, with the participation of leading specialists such as Joandomènec Ros and Joan Pretus from the Department of Ecology, Francisco Ayala of the University of California, Juan Moreno of the National Museum of Natural Sciences in Madrid, and Carles Lalueza of the Higher Scientific Research Council (CSIC).

On Thursday, 16 April, the symposium “The theory of evolution in the 21st century” will be held in the Aula Magna, with lectures on the origin of life, natural selection and Darwinist thought and zoology given by the researchers Lluís Serra, Montserrat Aguadé and Jaume Baguñà from the Department of Genetics, Gustavo Llorente from the Department of Animal Biology, Juli Peretó of the University of Valencia, Jordi Civis of the University of Salamanca, and Jordi Bascompte of the Higher Scientific Research Council (CSIC).

The activities organized to celebrate Darwin Year are sponsored by the UB, the Faculty of Biology, the Agency for Management of University and Research Grants (AGAUR), the Catalan Society of Biology, the International Union of Biological Science, Redes Moleculares, the Society for the Study of Evolution and the UB scientific-cultural association Omnis Cellula.


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  © Universitat de Barcelona Edition: Communication
Last update: 10.02.2009