However, millions of years of evolution have prevented humans from living that long. Still, that doesn’t stop those of us who are alive today from celebrating the man and his work.

Evolution is the basis for all modern biology. It is the central tenet, the organizing theme, the trunk from which all branches grow. It has changed considerably since the early days when Darwin (and his contemporary Alfred Russel Wallace) first proposed the idea that species change over time. They didn’t even have an idea behind the mechanism for it at the time, but that came eventually. We now have a far better understanding of genetics, and how random mutations can lead to gradual change for adaptation.

For biology, Darwin is the founder in much the same way Newton or Galileo was for physics. Things have changed, improved, but the root idea is still there, and has grown—you might even say evolved—since.

Because of this, there has been an informal movement over the years to declare February 12 as Darwin Day. I think that’s a fine idea. A lot of folks are taking the opportunity to throw various events, like art contests and biology lectures.