The early life of Robert Hooke (1635-1703) including his childhood on the Isle of Wight. His education at Westminster School and Oxford University; research work he carried out at Oxford; joining the Royal Society as ‘Curator of Experiments’; description of contents of his famous book ‘Micrographica’. How observations of microscopic world provided the groundwork for future scientific discoveries.
The ancient greek Galenist view of the movement of blood round the body; Versalius, Fabricuius and Fallopius and their studies of human anatomy. The emergence of William Harvey and how he drew on the work of his predecessors to discover how blood circulates in the human body. A description of some of Harvey’s practical experiments including tying a ligature around a forearm and interpreting the outcome.
The Beagle sails from Rio de Janeiro to Montevideo; Darwin reads John Milton’s Paradise Lost and Volume II of Charles Lyell’s Principles of Geology; upheaval and anarchy in Montevideo; arrival of new ship’s artist Conrad Martens; fraternising with the gauchos and discovering the bones of an extinct megatherium; the story of the three Yaghans from Fitzroy’s first voyage on the Beagle; leaving Montevideo for Tierra del Fuego.
The Beagle reaches Rio de Janeiro in April 1832. Darwin visits a slave plantation in the interior and is disgusted by what he sees of the treatment of black slaves. Darwin is captivated by the rainforest and all the specimens he observes for the first time. Darwin returns to Rio where he spends time discovering more new species including many invertebrates which he collects and preserves. The Beagle sets sail for Buenos Aires.
Darwin sails from Plymouth on board HMS Beagle on Tuesday 27th December 1831. Disappointment at not setting foot on Tenerife; exploring the Cape Verde Islands and observations about wildlife and geology; brief stop over at St Peter’s and St Paul’s archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean; arriving at Salvador in Brazil and thrill of wandering through rainforest; loathing of slavery and tension between Darwin and Captain Fitzroy.
Charles Darwin returns home from a geological field trip to find letters inviting him on a voyage round the world. Darwin has problems persuading his father that such an expedition would be a good idea. After securing his father’s agreement he journeys to London to meet Captain Fitzroy. He gathers together some scientific equipment and head towards Plymouth. HMS Beagle leaves Plymouth on 27th December 1831.
After dropping out of medical school Darwin studies for a degree at Christ’s College, Cambridge with a view to becoming ordained in the Church of England. Darwin maintains his interest in the natural world. Darwin is introduced to the latest craze of beetle collecting; he becomes the favorite student to the Professor of Botany John Henslow and learns about botany; he goes on a geological field trip to North Wales.
The early life of Charles Darwin in Shrewsbury, England; the death of his mother and his early interests; attending Edinburgh University to study medicine; a lack of interest in a medical career gives the young Charles plenty of time to explore the natural world; Darwin’s first scientific discoveries and his friendship with Robert Grant; membership of the Plinian Society; friendship with a freed black slave and learning taxidermy skills.
An explanation of the results of Gregor Mendel’s research into the heredity of the common pea plant. How he cross bred pure bred plants with purple and white flowers; the results of this cross breeding programme in the first generation; how the self pollination of the first generation led to the offspring in the second generation developing purple and white flowers in the ratio of three to one.
An introduction to the work of the father of genetics, the 19th century monk Gregor Mendel; how he set up experiments to investigate the heredity of the common pea plant; an explanation of the seven traits he decided to investigate; the meaning of ‘trait’ and revision of phenotypes and genotypes; opposition to his conclusions; a summary of the 19th century hypothesis of ‘blending inheritance’.