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Posts Tagged: Charles Darwin

The Face of Darwin

Look closely at Charles Darwin's ceramic face.

You'll see selections from his secret notebooks and images of organisms that most influenced his scientific studies.

His beard is peppered with moths. You'll also find barnacles, iguanas, finches, orchids and other creatures on his face.

It is,  says Diane Ullman,  "a profound learning experience in and of itself."

The ceramic mosaic, appropriately titled "The Face of Darwin," will be among the art work displayed June 3-July 3 in the Buehler Alumni and Visitors' Center at UC Davis.

The background of "The Face":  Ullman, an entomologist-artist, taught a freshman seminar with fellow artist Donna Billick to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birthday.  Ullman and Billick co-founded the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program and serve as the co-directors. The seminar was  part of the Art/Science Fusion Program.

The Buehler art exhibit features more than 50 student photographs from Terry Nathan's class, "Photography: Bridging Art and Science," also part of the Art/Science Fusion Program. The photographs, Nathan said, explore the conceptual connections between art and science and the role of art and science on the UC Davis campus. 

A public reception takes place from 3 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 4.

"The Face of Darwin" is both hauntingly beautiful and a vividly detailed study of the science that engulfed the evolutionary biologist. The eyes plead his passion, begging for  knowledge, understanding and realization.

It is, indeed, as Ullman said, "a profound learning experience in and of itself."

The Face of Darwin
The Face of Darwin

'THE FACE OF DARWIN,' a ceramic mosaic created in a freshman seminar at UC Davis in commemoration of Darwin's 200th birthday anniversary, shows the organisms he studied and the secret notes he harbored. (Photo courtesy of Diane Ullman)

Faces Behind the Face
Faces Behind the Face

UC DAVIS STUDENTS (from left) Angela Kaczmarczyk, Danielle Chavez and Ricardo Calles with "The Face of Darwin." They were among the students working on the project. (Photo courtesy of Diane Ullman)

Posted on Monday, June 1, 2009 at 2:02 PM

Wonderful World of Insects

Kids love bugs. 

And they love books on bugs. 

One of the bug books we bought our son during his childhood was “Insect World: A Child’s First Library of Learning,” published by Time-Life Books. 

It includes such chapters as:
Why Do Butterflies Love Flowers?
Why Are a Dragon Fly’s Eyes So Big?
Why Do Ladybugs Spit Yellow Liquid When They’re Caught?
Why Do Bees Sting?
How Do Grasshoppers Jump? 

An illustration in the back of the book depicts insects doing the wrong things. Titled “What’s Going On?,” the drawing shows a butterfly eating an insect (Not! It drinks nectar); a praying mantis eating grass (Not! It eats other insects), a grasshopper drinking sap (Not! It does eat grass, though), a honey bee spinning a web (Not! But it does make a wax hive) and a cicada drinking nectar (Not! But it does drink sap). 

The diversity of insects continues to amaze us--from the huge Madagascar hissing cockroach to the tiny walnut twig beetle. Check out the Bohart Museum of Entomology's seven million specimens on the UC Davis campus or take a look (below) of this partial collection of UC Davis evolutionary ecologist Andrew Forbes, a post-doctoral scholar in professor Jay Rosenheim's lab. 

On Thursday, Feb. 12, the eyes of the world will be focused on biodiversity. That's the 200th anniversary of the birth of naturalist Charles Darwin. The New York Times just published an article on him, "Darwinism Must Die So Evolution May Live." The San Francisco Chronicle explored "Eric Simons: Frolicking in Darwin's Footsteps."  The BBC says "Scotland 'Inspired' Darwin's Work." 

And at the 2008 meeting of the Entomological Society of America, scientists devoted an entire seminar to Darwin's fascinating life and his contributions to science. 

Fortunately, Darwin (1809-1882) neglected the medical studies his parents so desperately wanted him to pursue and instead explored his passion.

Diversity of Insects
Diversity of Insects

DIVERSITY OF INSECTS--From the Madagascar hissing cockroach to the praying mantis to the grasshopper, insects are diverse. This is part of a collection owned by UC Davis evolutionary ecologist Andrew Forbes. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 6:29 PM
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