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Charles Darwin's 200th Birthday

You are in: Cambridgeshire > History > Local History > Charles Darwin's 200th Birthday > The Darwin Festival

The Darwin Festival 2009, Cambridge

The Darwin Festival

How much do you know about Darwin and the huge impact his theories of evolution had on the world? Here's your chance to find out more with a whole range of fascinating and fun events!

This July the University of Cambridge will host a major international festival to mark 200 years since the birth of Charles Darwin and 150 years since the publication of 'On the Origin of Species'.

More than 100 scientists, authors, artists and performers will debate and celebrate the impact of Darwin's evolutionary theories at more than 40 events including a conference, talks, lectures, performances, exhibitions and fringe entertainment!

Charles Darwin

Darwin studied at the University of Cambridge

Bringing together town and gown, the Darwin Festival promises to inspire and inform anyone with an interest in the big ideas and issues of our time, from religion, art, drama and media to pandemics, biodiversity, genetic manipulation and eugenics.

The events are open to all (subject to availability), and many are free of charge. All events take place at venues in Cambridge.

The Darwin Festival, Sunday 5th to Friday 10th July 2009

Origin Of Species (Book by Charles Darwin)

Morning talks and debates

Every day from Monday 6th to Friday 10th July at the West Road Concert Hall, there will be a morning talk followed by a discussion, lead by first class speakers who are at the forefront of their chosen field including Richard Dawkins, Lord Martin Rees, Dame Gillian Beer and Professor Steve Jones.

The morning sessions will explore Darwin's impact on modern science, medicine, social sciences, human nature, belief and the arts.

Afternoon focus sessions

The afternoons see more focussed sessions with different presentation formats to examine the current state of science and society in greater depth covering science, theology, philosophy, social science, arts and communications.

Explorer sessions: Exhibitions and tours

Your chance to enjoy a guided tour of the Cambridge museums, colleges, Botanic Gardens and University Library, many of which are holding special Darwin exhibitions, workshops and activities.

Lunchtime and evening events

Through the week the lunchtime and evening programme will include keynote lectures and debates, plus theatrical and musical events, with speakers inlcuding Terry Pratchett, Ian McEwan and David Attenborough.

Sir David Attenborough

Sir David Attenborough

Perrformers inlcude soprano Susan Gritton, pianist Ian Burnside and poet (and great, great grandaughter of Darwin!) Ruth Padel, who all appear in 'Life Laughs Onward' at West Road Concert Hall, and the Fitzwilliam String Quartet who will perform a new work called The Darwin Quartet.


During the week the festival will spill out onto the streets, bars and cafes of Cambridge with informal theatre, music, carnival performers, comedy and gigs.

Darwin and Cambridge

  • Charles Darwin attended Christ's College, Cambridge between 1828 and 1831, and from 1836-7.
  • Cambridge is home to the vast majority of Darwin's output, including specimens from his voyage on the Beagle, manuscripts, correspondences, working papers, notebooks and journals.
  • After his death many of Darwin's private papers were preserved and kept at the Cambridge University Library.
  • The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online (Darwin Online) began in 2002 to assemble in one scholarly website all of Darwin's published writings and unpublished papers.
  • Many of Darwin's unpublished letters and correspondence have been collected and preserved by the Darwin Correspondence Project which has an online database containing around 14500 entries.

last updated: 07/07/2009 at 18:59
created: 25/06/2009

You are in: Cambridgeshire > History > Local History > Charles Darwin's 200th Birthday > The Darwin Festival

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