While many recognize Feb. 12, 1809, as the date on which Abraham Lincoln was born, few realize that the 16th president entered into this world on the same day as naturalist Charles Darwin.
And just as individuals and groups world-wide make plans to honor the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth, others are joining efforts to celebrate Darwin and his contributions to modern society, humanities and the sciences. British-born Darwin, known primarily for his efforts at introducing the idea of evolution through natural selection, is recognized internationally as the author of "The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection," published 150 years ago.
This year, Eastern Illinois University will once again commemorate Darwin's contributions by sponsoring educational programs designed to teach others about Darwin and related topics. As part of this commemoration, Eastern plans to host five separate events, all of which are free and open to the public.
"Charles Darwin: The Concise Story of an Extraordinary Life," a lecture by Timothy Berra of Ohio State University, will be presented at 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 8, in Coleman Hall Auditorium (Room 1255).
Berra also will present "Chasing Nurseryfish and Avoiding Crocodiles in Northern Australia" at noon Monday, Feb. 9, in Buzzard Auditorium (Room 1501).
"A Chat with Charles Darwin" will be presented at 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 9, in Life Sciences, Room 2080. John Wagner of The Field Museum will be the guest speaker.
Michael Zimmerman will discuss "The Clergy Letter Project, the Evolution/Creation Controversy and Why it Matters" at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 10, in Coleman Hall Auditorium (Room 1255).
To conclude the series of events, the best documentary award-winning film, " Darwin vs. Kansas," will be shown at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 11, in Life Sciences, Room 2080.