The year 1809 was an important one for births of important people in history. Here follows an incomplete list: Louis Braille (January 4), Edgar Allan Poe (January 9), Felix Mendelssohn (February 3), Charles Robert Darwin (February 12), Abraham Lincoln (February 12), Alfred Lord Tennyson (August 6), and William Gladstone (December 29). One of the most celebrated of these births will be that of Charles Darwin. Around the world, universities and scientific societies are marking the bicentennial of Darwin's birth with special publications and meetings. I will be speaking at one of these, sponsored by the University of Oklahoma, on February 13.
The coincidence of Darwin and Lincoln both being born on the same day has not gone unnoticed. Both led the world towards liberation of thought and understanding, in different ways. I wrote a story about this.