Darwin and the Sandwalk: Mandalorian

It’s not entirely clear whether Darwin would have been distracted by cultural phenomena, like Star Wars. There were equivalents. Charles Dickens was a publishing phenomenon during the middle of the 19th century. Charles and Emma read the latest novels to each other. Bleak House (1852-53), Hard Times (1854) and Little…

Darwin and the Sandwalk: elections

I’m not sure how much Darwin followed politics in general and how interested he would have been in the USA elections. I do know that it takes up a lot of time and nervous energy for those of us living outside of the USA (and I can only imagine how…

Darwin and the Sandwalk: social distancing

I wonder how Darwin would have coped with the current Covid pandemic. I guess Victorians were somewhat used to plagues and so on sweeping through the land. I suspect Darwin wouldn’t have minded much if he lived today. Yes he had a lot of children, but I don’t think he…

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….