NOVA: Darwin's Darkest Hours Series

Lectures curated around NOVA: Darwin's Darkest Hours that celebrates the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his famous book On the Origin of Species.

This program brings to life Charles Darwin’s greatest personal crisis: the anguishing decision over whether to “go public” with his theory of evolution. Darwin spent years refining his ideas and penning his “Big Book,” On the Origin of Species. Yet, daunted by looming conflict with the orthodox religious values of his day, he resisted publishing, until a letter from naturalist Alfred Wallace forced his hand. In 1858, Darwin learned that Wallace was on the brink of publishing ideas very similar to his own. In a panic, Darwin grasped his dilemma: To delay publishing any longer would be to condemn all of his work to obscurity — his voyage on the Beagle, his adventures in the Andes, the gauchos and bizarre fossils of Patagonia, the finches and giant tortoises of the Galapagos. But to come forward with his ideas risked the fury of the Church and perhaps a rift with his own devoted wife, Emma, who was a strong believer in the biblical view of creation.

Lectures curated around NOVA: Darwin's Darkest Hours that celebrates the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his famous book On the Origin of Species.

This program brings to life Charles Darwin’s greatest personal crisis: the anguishing decision over whether to “go public” with his theory of evolution. Darwin spent years refining his ideas and penning his “Big Book,” On the Origin of Species. Yet, daunted by looming conflict with the orthodox religious values of his day, he resisted publishing, until a letter from naturalist Alfred Wallace forced his hand. In 1858, Darwin learned that Wallace was on the brink of publishing ideas very similar to his own. In a panic, Darwin grasped his dilemma: To delay publishing any longer would be to condemn all of his work to obscurity — his voyage on the Beagle, his adventures in the Andes, the gauchos and bizarre fossils of Patagonia, the finches and giant tortoises of the Galapagos. But to come forward with his ideas risked the fury of the Church and perhaps a rift with his own devoted wife, Emma, who was a strong believer in the biblical view of creation.