Darwin Blogging, Now and To Come

In this year of unlimited Darwin (and who better than one of the genuinely good eggs amongst great thinkers with whom to spend the next twelvemonth?), a couple of noteworthy projects.  First, over at the Borg Scienceblogs, John Whitfield is doing a crash read of The Origin of Species:  the whole book plus sixteen blog-essays in 33 days.  His first, on the introduction, is up now.

Second, in a mark-your-calendar kind of way, I want to alert you all to a project set to go live on February 12, Darwin’s birthday, of course, currently laboring under the nearly-fixed title (but not URL) of So Simple a Beginning…


This is something I’ve been putting together for a while, and while it too is a kind of blog of The Origin, it is really an attempt to build an ecosystem of ideas and materials around the book.  I’m going to keep the details under wraps just now as we finalize design and other matters, but the project will bring together Darwin’s text with writing by a community of bloggers, along with as much material we can find from before, during and after Darwin’s times.  Put it all together and the project will, I hope provide new paths into what Darwin said, to whom he was speaking, against who and what he was arguing, and the process in every generation since of creating our own Darwin with which to engage.

That community of bloggers is still coming together, but those who have already signed on are something of an all-star lineup.

I’ll be there pretty much constantly, (you could think of me as Jason Varitek 2008 All-Star of the bunch, if you were to be so unkind). Those who will be joining me with greater or lesser frequency include definitive Darwin biographer Janet Browne, evo-dev0 major-domo- (apologize!–ed) Sean B. Carroll and science writing‘s own Carl Zimmer, along with the two frighteningly gifted Harvard University History of Science grad students who will be providing the muscle behind the historical research effort mentioned above.  They are Alex Wellerstein and Ellen Bales.  (Alex you may recall from this post as the scholar who uncovered the existence of more than 2,000 secret patents taken out by Manhattan Project scientists on just about angle on atomic bomb construction they could dream up.)

Conversations are underway with more great people, to be named as the pennies drop.

It should be great fun.  I hope to see y’all along for the ride.

Image:  John Gould, “Geospiza magnirostris” — Large Ground Finch.  Illustration for Darwin, C. R. ed. 1839. Birds Part 3 No. 4 of The zoology of the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle. by John Gould. Edited and superintended by Charles Darwin. London: Smith Elder and Co.

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4 Comments on “Darwin Blogging, Now and To Come”


  1. [...] 3. Tom Levenson, author and MIT professor, is going to oversee a longer project on Darwin starting on February 12, the D-man’s birthday. Tom’s gallery of co-bloggers for the project include Janet Browne, biographer of Darwin, and biologist Sean Carroll. I’ll be helping out too. Here are more details. [...]


  2. [...] blogosphere to mark Darwin’s bicentennial and the 150th anniversary of his best known book. Tom Levenson will be a great place to start, then check out the diverse crew at Scienceblogs. In other science [...]


  3. [...] Blogging the Origin, which is well worth checking out. Elsewhere, there are promises of another Charles Darwin related project coming up in [...]


  4. [...] Tom Levenson go and do? He recruits the other Sean Carroll for a blogging project! So Simple a Beginning seems to be the name, although the project itself doesn’t seem to “exist” quite [...]


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