CHARLES ROBERT DARWIN (Photo credit: AlphaBetaUnlimited)
Charles Darwin became a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in 1838. He became involved in a wide variety of geographical matters, ranging from publication of his ‘Note on a Rock Seen on an Iceberg in 61o South Latitude’ in the Society’s Geographical Journal of 1839, to reviewing the geological content of articles submitted to the Society for publication. He frequently used the Society’s library at No. 3, Waterloo Place; ranging from his examination of samples of Mastodon or Elephant tusk from Peru with the Society’s Librarian, to requesting copies of charts from the Society’s collection relating to the Caroline Islands in the western Pacific Ocean which he had visited on his expedition aboard His Majesty Ship Beagle.
The Royal Geographical Society is a leading world centre for geographers and geographical learning dedicated to the development and promotion of knowledge together with its application to the challenges facing society and the environment. Founded in 1830, it has been one of the most active learned societies.
Today, the Society continues supports and promotes geographical research, education, fieldwork and expeditions, and geography in society; it also advises on policy issues. The Society has substantial collections, accessible to all. The Society is a charity with a broad-based membership that supports its missions and aims.
Darwin has an impact on Geographical Research.The idea of development has its influence on Geomorphologial processes.
Darwin and Darwinism interact with Geography in interesting and significant ways.
- First the role of Geography in Darwinism, reflecting both on Darwin’s geographical imagination and the significance of location, site and space in the development of his thinking.
- Second, the place of Darwinism in geographical scholarship .
- Third, Darwinism itself is a geographical phenomenon that has spread across the world.
Both during the HMS Beagle expedition and in the years immediately after his return, Charles Darwin’s scientific interests were primarily geological and geographical. He made an immediate impact with his theory of coral reef development, and much of his present, somewhat limited, reputation as an ‘earth scientist’ is based on this specific contribution, together with the innovative methodology used to propose his model of reef development.
From his early observations of landforms and rocks, and his reading of contemporaries such as Lyell and others, Darwin embarked on a search for a coherent theory of the Earth of which the nature and causes of uplift formed a core issue. Although eclipsed for 150 years by other priorities, recent research in the earth sciences is again focussing on the causes and patterns of crustal uplift as a component of a holistic view of how the Earth functions. Lessons can still be learnt from Darwin’s original wide-ranging research agenda, his linkages of apparently unrelated phenomena, and his geographical innovations.
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