Darwin and the Sandwalk: blogs

 Publicising your work is becoming a common part of the scientist’s job. We are continually exhorted to connect with the public and to let them know what we are doing. This is not a bad idea, although most scientists are not trained to do this sort of thing, have no…

Darwin and the Sandwalk: summer break!

It’s hard to visualise Darwin in swimming trunks. In fact we are so used to seeing a very old Darwin looking all stately that it’s hard to image him doing anything normal. Darwin was a real family man and spent a lot of time with his children. I imagine that…

Darwin and the Sandwalk: Kickstartered!

OK I must confess that I have become a bit of a Kickstarter junkie. This is a crowd-funding site where people put up ideas and the public puts in pledges to help fund them. Typically, there are stretch goals which add more rewards to the backers when pledges reach certain…

Darwin and the Sandwalk: performance-based research

One thing that Darwin didn’t have to contend with, being independently wealthy, was research income. In New Zealand we are going into the last phase of the current cycle where every few years all scientists are assessed. Through this assessment research funding is apportioned to our research institutions from the…

Darwin and the Sandwalk: Presidents

The more things change…. I doubt that the world of 1855 Britain was as concerned with the USA presidency as we all are today. But if they were then the then current President Franklin Pierce (usually counted as one of the worst presidents) was doing things that were very concerning…

Darwin and the Sandwalk: Open plan offices

Increasingly we are coming under pressure to move into open plan office environments in all walks of life. This can come as a shock to most academics who are often introverted by nature and are good at beavering away in their own offices. I can’t imagine the Victorian scientists being…

Darwin and the Sandwalk: Pokémon Go

There are lots of distractions in the modern world. I wonder what Darwin would have though about Pokémon Go. He may well have liked it given he was a great collector of specimens, especially beetles. Collecting the different Pokémons would have appealed.  The thrill of finding something interesting and rare….

Darwin and the Sandwalk: Crimea

One thing that I haven’t seen a lot of in the various books and papers on the life of Darwin was how he dealt with the news and issues of the day. The lead up to the publishing  of the Origin were troubling and eventful days. At the start of…

Darwin and the Sandwalk: Stay at home Dad

Darwin had a lot of kids (ten, three dying young, Charlie the last in 1858 of scarlet fever aged just two). Darwin also worked at home for most of his life. So he was a stay-at-home dad! I have found that coordinating three sons and getting them all to their…

Darwin and the Sandwalk: Fitness

As a young man Darwin would have been reasonably fit. He was often away doing natural history walks of several days. Certainly, after coming back from the Beagle voyage he would have been in good condition. Although he suffered from sickness throughout his later life he was very keen on…