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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The ambitious project of the American Natural History Museum through which all the Darwin's manuscripts will be published online

Three quarter length studio photo showing Darwin's characteristic large forehead and bushy eyebrows with deep set eyes, pug nose and mouth set in a determined look. He is bald on top, with dark hair and long side whiskers but no beard or moustache. His jacket is dark, with very wide lapels, and his trousers are a light check pattern. His shirt has an upright wing collar, and his cravat is tucked into his waistcoat which is a light fine checked pattern. Credit: wikipedia
While we can never pick Charles Darwin’s brilliant brain, a collaborative project is bringing us closer to his thoughts than ever before. As of his week, to mark the 155th anniversary of the publication of his iconic book On the Origin of Species, the Darwin Manuscripts Project has made a treasure chest of Darwin’s hand-written notes available online, allowing people across the globe to trace the development of the man that changed the way we look at the world.

The project, which is a collaboration between the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) and Cambridge University Library, was founded in 2003, and set out to digitize and transcribe a collection of Darwin’s writings. So far, more than 16,000 high resolution images of the naturalist’s notes, scientific writings and sketches have been made publicly available, but the project is only halfway through.

In mid-July 1837 Darwin started his "B" notebook on Transmutation of Species, and on page 36 wrote "I think" above his first evolutionary tree. Credit: wikipedia
The documents hitherto released cover 25 years of Darwin’s life, “in which Darwin became convinced of evolution; discovered natural selection; developed explanations of adaptation, speciation, and a branching tree of life; and wrote the Origin,” according to the AMNH site.

You can even see a drawing by one of Darwin’s children, a scene of carrot and aubergine cavalry, which was sketched on the back of a page of the On the Origin of Species manuscript. You can also see his first use of “natural selection” as a scientific term, among many other things.

By June 2015, the archive will host more than 30,000 documents authored by Darwin between 1835 and 1882. The next release will cover the notes of his eight post-Origin books. The ultimate goal of the project, the AMNH explains, is to provide “access to the primary evidence for the birth and maturation of Darwin’s attempts to explore and explain the natural world.”

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The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Iflscience . Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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