Charles Darwin was born in Shropshire at the beginning of the 19th-century and educated at school in Shropshire and Christ’s College, Cambridge. In 1831 he took his place on the research vessel HMS Beagle and embarked upon the first of the many expeditions that were to inspire his revolutionary work.
Although chiefly renowned for The Origin of Species (1859), he also wrote important volumes concerning, amongst other things, geology and heredity, while the travel book now known as Voyage of the Beagle was widely read. His books were written for the general public and his influence outside the scientific community was immense. It can be said with no exaggeration that the acceptance of evolutionary theory constituted a cultural revolution. Nor are his works of merely historical value today; so modern are they in conception that biologists are recurrently surprised by their relevance.