People often credit their ideas to individual "Eureka!" moments. But Steven Johnson shows how history tells a different story. His fascinating tour takes us from the "liquid networks" of London’s coffee houses to Charles Darwin’s long, slow hunch to today’s high-velocity web.
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February 12 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, certainly the most important biologist in history and one of the great figures in science. Darwin, of course, spent his life developing the theory of evolution by natural selection, which has become the foundation for the understanding of biology. In the 1960’s evolutionary biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky said that "nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution," and that’s a statement with which few biologists would argue.
To honour Darwin’s birthday, we’re devoting our program to a discussion of the life and work of Charles Darwin, and to a discussion of his impact on modern science, with three special guests.
When young Charles Darwin set out on the Beagle, near the top of his wish list was a rare and coveted bird: the lesser rhea, a South American version of the ostrich. The bird had been sighted by a French rival — but never caught. Darwin wanted to be the first to snatch the prize for Britain. And he did find the bird, just not in the shape he was expecting.
Author Steven Johnson says that ideas don’t come in a stroke of genius â they emerge from a network of people, places and real-world constraints.