Library building

Darwin, The Beagle, and Captain FitzRoy: An Extremely Unlikely Trio on February 10, 2024, at 1:00 pm in Cohen Hall

Charles Darwin served as the ‘Naturalist’ aboard the H.M.S. Beagle.  But how was this possible?  Darwin had no degree in science and had never been to sea.  More so, the position of naturalist was reserved for the ship’s doctor, and rarely was a civilian granted permission to sail aboard a royal navy vessel. So why was Darwin selected?  The story is a complicated one, and involves the suicide of the Beagle’s first captain, the theft of a lifeboat off the coast of South America, and a deep fear that haunted Captain FitzRoy.  Even the capture of three natives from Tierra Del Fuego factored into Darwin’s appointment.

 Marc Koolen, a retired biology instructor from Phillips Academy (Andover), MA, and current Keene resident, will attempt to piece together the story, while at the same time portraying what life was like for Darwin aboard the Beagle.  He will also summarize the fate of Charles Darwin, the H.M.S. Beagle, and Captain Robert FitzRoy.  Supplementing the presentation will be a set of PowerPoint slides, a beautiful scale model of the Beagle, along with a model of the ‘Chart Room’ (the space aboard the Beagle where Darwin lived and gathered his collections), and several additional supportive items.  The presentation will last approximately one hour, with time for follow-up questions and/or discussion.

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