University of Alberta


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Darwin Day Celebrations

This coming February 12th, Darwin's 200th birthday and the 150th anniversary of the publication of "On the Origin of Species", there will be a seminar series in the afternoon (2-5PM) and a get-together after (5-7PM) to honour Darwin and his place in Biology and Science.

2-5 PM Room BioSci M-145

2:00-2:05      Welcome/intro
2:03-2:45      Denis O. Lamoureux "Darwin's Religious Evolution"
2:45-3:25      Dawna Gilchrist "Darwin - a Geneticist at Heart"
3:25-3:35      10 min Break
3:35-4:20      Philip Currie "Darwin and the Dinosaurs"
4:20-5:00      Dr. Rich Palmer "Darwin's distractions:  Barnacles, earthworms, and an obsession for natural history"


1- Food:
As part of our Darwin bicentennial celebration on February 12, 2009,  we have decided to have a “Darwin food” competition.  In addition to regular party snacks etc. at the reception, we will have food for this competition that will incorporate items with a Darwin theme.  Prizes will be given for the best dessert (sweet) and best savory (or main course type item) that has relevance to Darwin or organisms studied and/or collected by Darwin.  We would like to have the food item accompanied by an explanation of how this is relevant to Darwin or his work.  Suggestions might be finch pie, barnacle stir fry or earth worm salad, tortoise cookies, or items with Darwin’s image on them (e.g., cake).  Use your ingenuity. Points will be given for taste as well as creativity and relevance to the Darwin theme. 

Darwin studied or collected organisms in just about every phylum from mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, insectivorous plants, fungi to orchids, beetles and cactus. How many families can you get into one dish? 

Attached is a list of books and monographs of Charles Darwin for your information ; however, his complete works can be found at:
So, you can do a little research and brainstorm.  If anyone wishes to be a judge of this contest, please contact Ruth Stockey;

2- “Darwin look-alike” contest:
A prize will be given to the guest who appears at the celebration and most looks like Darwin. Both old and young Darwin look-alikes are welcome. Contestants will be judged based on their similarity in appearance, clothing, and mannerisms. Given that this contest appears inherently limited to males (but don’t let that stop you) we will have the judging done by women in the audience.  Start combing your beards and contacting your tailors ……..

3- Darwin Game show – “Selection of the Fittest”
We are currently planning a game show with Darwin as the focus. We have not finalized the format, yet.  Send us your favourite Darwin factoid, quote with Darwin related image; can be images of things Darwin described, not necessarily illustrated.
Additional events/contest are being planned:

  • Dance like a Victorian contest! What is Victorian music?  Provide piped Victorian music can download MP3s (Heather Proctor)
  • What would you ask Darwin contest?
  • Live music group, ideally people in department,  to play something vaguely Victorian.   Contact us please!  Only a couple of rehearsals necessary.
  • Slide show of Darwin images
  • Darwin Sketch?


Last Modified: 2009-02-03