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<   No. 2448   2009-10-09   >

Comic #2448

1 {scene: a study}
1 Caption: Cambridge, 1837.
1 Charles Darwin: So, putting together all the evidence from my voyages on the Beagle...
2 Charles Darwin: The distribution of plants and animals, the variety of finches in the Galapagos Islands... It all means...
3 {beat}
4 Charles Darwin: Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle!

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2009 is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin. He was born in Shrewsbury, where I was fortunate enough to be earlier this year. The town was in the midst of a year-long celebration of its link to this most distinguished scientist and, although I hadn't known about it beforehand, it was very cool to be there at the time.

For what Isaac Newton did for physics, Charles Darwin did for biology. Before Newton, physical science was really just a hodge-podge collection of facts and observations about how the world worked. Newton pulled it all together into a coherent structure that made sense. And in exactly the same way, natural science before Darwin was just an assortment of observations and conjectures. Darwin provided the essential framework that allowed us to really understand how biology works.

So it was also pleasing to see on my visit that the Bank of England honours Darwin by placing his portrait on the current issue of £10 bank notes.

2023-06-17 Rerun commentary: The UK £10 note was redesigned in 2017, switching from paper to polymer, and the current version features Jane Austen on the reverse, replacing Charles Darwin.

This comic uses the Lego magnifying glass piece, which has a convex plastic lens in it, so that it actually works as a magnifier. It's cool using it in photos.

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