The Beagle, Redux

beagle_thumb.jpgSince the last two SOS podcast episodes have been all about Charles Darwin, and the historical context surrounding him, this seems like a good time to remind everybody about the Beagle Project.

And no, we’re not talking about dog shows here…

The Beagle Project is an effort to build a replica of the HMS Beagle, the ship that took Charles Darwin on his famous voyage of discovery from 1831 to 1836. If you’ve been listening to the podcast episodes, you’re well aware that 2009 is the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth, and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his book On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. Well, the idea behind the Beagle Project is to launch the replica in 2009, retrace Darwin’s route with it, and use the voyage to perform new science as well as outreach:

An icon of scientific progress, she will circumnavigate the globe in Darwin’s wake, crewed by aspiring scientists and researchers. They will carry out original research both at sea and on land, updating Darwin’s observations, breaking new scientific ground and relating the adventure of science to enthuse a new generation of young students.

If this sounds interesting to you, of course you can just go to the site and donate money directly. But don’t forget, you also have another option — the project has a CafePress store, so you can buy cool Beagle goodies, and help the project out at the same time. Since I started the podcast series on Darwin, I’ve added a link to the Beagle Project store over in the sidebar, just to make your shopping easier…

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5 Responses to The Beagle, Redux

  1. PhilDS says:

    I like the idea, but I have one quible with it.
    Instead of making a copy of the original Beagle, I think it would have been better to make a modern high tech large sailing ship. That way one could maybe prove that sailing ships have a role to play in these times of energy conservation.

  2. SOS, many thanks for the link and plug, you’ve been thanked and blogrolled.

    PhilDS, the marine architect we are using on this is working on motor-sail projects which will demonstrate just this. The Beagle will be able to, too: we know the fuel use for a vessel of that hull length, and will be able to make very accurate calculations of the fuel savings using just sail or motorsailing compared to a pure stinkpot (motor boat).

  3. nunatak says:

    Thanks for the plug, Sam! PhilDS, I can see your point but I would hope this world has room in it for both a replica Beagle and also bigger “high-tech” sailing ships for science. I have just started writing a piece on science in the (new) age of sail; we hope the Beagle will be an inspiration for a whole flotilla of sailing ships for science!

  4. PhilDS says:

    Peter, thanks for the answer.
    Good luck with the project. Safe sailing.

  5. Sam Wise says:

    Peter & nunatak — thanks for the linkage!

    PhilDS — I agree, the promotion of modern sailing technology is a worthy cause. But personally, I think that the Beagle Project has enough on its plate as is, particularly given how evolution is getting politicized in some quarters of late.

    Besides, other outfits have already taken up the flag, as it were…

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