VSL:SCIENCE // Becoming Charles Darwin

Darwin’s 200th birthday is approaching, and it’s hard to pick up a science magazine without being inundated with the same old references to finches, fossils, and natural selection.

In Reef Madness, science writer (and regular VSL:SCIENCE contributor) David Dobbs examines an obscure but fascinating episode from Darwin’s most formative years — his time as a naturalist aboard the Beagle — and his defining role in solving one of the great mysteries of 19th-century science. Where did coral reefs come from? How could these massive structures simply appear in our oceans? Darwin’s theory of evolution has obscured this earlier achievement — and yet it was here Darwin realized his full potential as the revolutionary thinker who would soon turn his attentions to life on dry land.

This post is from Observer Short List—an email of three favorite things from people you want to know. Sign up to receive OSL here. VSL:SCIENCE // Becoming Charles Darwin