What has the public learned from the Darwin 200 celebrations?
A survey carried out by students on the newly created MSc in Science, Communication and Society at the University of Kent has revealed a disappointing level of knowledge regarding the life and works of one of Britain’s best-known scientists, Charles Darwin.
A simple survey composed of four questions was carried out on the University of Kent’s Canterbury campus and in Canterbury city centre, with surveyors approaching people at random.
Despite the fact that his portrait is on the back of a ten pound note, less than half of those surveyed were able to select Darwin’s picture from a selection of five bearded Victorians.
Knowledge of Darwin’s work was even more disappointing. The general public and university members alike scored lower than they should have done by simply guessing on questions relating to the content of his book.
For example, when asked to identify the type of animal most prominently featured in On The Origin Of Species, only 14% were able to correctly select birds from a list of five options. The most popular answer was ‘monkeys’.
Read about Darwin’s finches on wikipedia. The Galapagos Islands might be fun to visit some day. Here is some BBC footage: