A Celebration and a Challenge

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Science  09 Jan 2009:
Vol. 323, Issue 5911, pp. 185
DOI: 10.1126/science.1169716

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This issue marks the beginning of Science's coverage of two prominent anniversaries. Charles Robert Darwin, originator of modern evolutionary theory, was born 200 years ago next month. His book setting forth this theory, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, was published 150 years ago in November. These anniversaries have special resonance for scientists worldwide, and the general public too, in that Darwin wrote specifically for a broad audience. As The Times (London) wrote in 1909 in honor of his first centenary, "To no other man has it been given to effect a revolution in human thought so large, so pervading, so sudden, and yet so enduring. Darwin taught mankind to see all things in a new light, not only the mysteries of nature, great and small, the mysteries of existence and the innumerable objects of research, but the common things of everyday life."