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Who said: “Genius is two percent inspiration, ninety-eight percent perspiration.”
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Charles Darwin
(12 Feb 1809 - 19 Apr 1882)

English naturalist who presented facts to support his theory of the mode of evolution whereby favourable variations would survive which he called 'Natural Selection' or 'Survival of the Fittest.'

Charles Darwin Quote

“Improving…a young naturalist”

Illustrated Quote - Medium (500 x 350 px)

Charles Darwin in color with quote Improving…a young naturalist on Background HMS Beagle in seaways of Tierra del Fuego
HMS Beagle in the seaways of Terra del Fuego, painting by Conrad Martens. (source)
“Nothing can be more improving to a young naturalist, than a journey in a distant country.”
— Charles Darwin
In Journal of Researches (1839).

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Context of Charles Darwin’s quote on “Improving…a Young Naturalist”

After returning from his famous voyage on the H.M.S. Beagle, as the ship's naturalist for Captain Robert FitzRoy, Charles Darwin and the Captain wrote of their experiences in a three-volume series of books. Captain FitzRoy wrote the first two volumes, which include his report on the ship's hydrographic survey, meteorological records and some amateur naturalist contributions.

Darwin described his extensive observations in the third volume, which was subsequently reprinted through many years under a variety of titles, including Journal of Researches and the most familiar, The Voyage of the Beagle. In his later Autobiography, he stated that “the voyage of the Beagle has been by far the most important event in my life, and has determined my whole career.”

In his first published volume, the Journal of Researches, Darwin wrote extensively not only on the great variety of flora and fauna, but also the geology of the regions that he visited. The work remains captivating reading to the present day. It is no wonder that in the conclusion of his book, Darwin portrays his enduring excitement about his five years of travel by recommending the experience to any young man:

“In conclusion, it appears to me that nothing can be more improving to a young naturalist, than a journey in distant countries. It both sharpens, and partly likewise allays that want and craving, which, as Sir J. Herschel* remarks, a man experiences although every corporeal sense is fully satisfied. The excitement from the novelty of objects, and the chance of success, stimulate him to increased activity. …

I have too deeply enjoyed the voyage, not to recommend any naturalist, … to take all chances, and to start, on travels by land if possible, if otherwise on a long voyage.

He may feel assured, he will meet with no difficulties or dangers (excepting in rare cases) nearly so bad as he beforehand anticipated. In a moral point of view, the effect ought to be, to teach him good-humoured patience, freedom from selfishness, the habit of acting for himself, and of making the best of every thing, or in other words contentment. …Travelling ought also to teach him distrust; but at the same time he will discover, how many truly goodnatured people there are, with whom he never before had, or ever again will have any further communication, who yet are ready to offer him the most disinterested assistance.

Thus, in his final words of his last chapter, Darwin's thoughts are not just about the novel things he saw in other parts of the world, but he pays his lasting respect to the people he met along the way.

More quotes on | Evolution | Improvement | Journey | Misery | Naturalist |

Context by Webmaster, with quoted text from Narrative of the Surveying Voyages of His Majesty's Ships Adventure and Beagle, Between the Years 1826 and 18336, Describing Their Examination of the Southern Shores of South America, and the Beagle's Circumnavigation of the Globe: Volume III: Journal and Remarks 1832-1836 by Charles Darwin, Esq., M.A. (1939), Vol 3, 607. (source)

See also:
  • Science Quotes by Charles Darwin.
  • 12 Feb - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Darwin's birth.
  • Charles Darwin - Earthquake observation on 20 Feb 1835, during the voyage of the Beagle.
  • Charles Darwin - context of quote “If the misery of our poor be caused not by the laws of nature…” - Medium image (500 x 350 px)
  • Charles Darwin - context of quote “If the misery of our poor be caused not by the laws of nature…” - Large image (800 x 600 px)
  • Charles Darwin - context of quote “Improving…a young naturalist” - Large image (800 x 600 px)
  • Charles Darwin - context of quote “Great is the power of steady misrepresentation” - Medium image (500 x 350 px)
  • Charles Darwin - context of quote “Great is the power of steady misrepresentation” - Large image (800 x 600 px)
  • Charles Darwin - context of quote “This…I call Natural Selection, or the Survival of the Fittest” - Medium image (500 x 350 px)
  • Charles Darwin - context of quote “This…I call Natural Selection, or the Survival of the Fittest” - Large image (800 x 600 px)
  • Letter to Asa Gray - from Charles Darwin (5 Sep 1857).
  • From So Simple a Beginning: Darwin's Four Great Books, by Charles Darwin, Edward O. Wilson. - book suggestion.
  • Booklist for Charles Darwin.

Nature bears long with those who wrong her. She is patient under abuse. But when abuse has gone too far, when the time of reckoning finally comes, she is equally slow to be appeased and to turn away her wrath. (1882) -- Nathaniel Egleston, who was writing then about deforestation, but speaks equally well about the danger of climate change today.
Carl Sagan Thumbnail Carl Sagan: In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) ...(more by Sagan)

Albert Einstein: I used to wonder how it comes about that the electron is negative. Negative-positive—these are perfectly symmetric in physics. There is no reason whatever to prefer one to the other. Then why is the electron negative? I thought about this for a long time and at last all I could think was “It won the fight!” ...(more by Einstein)

Richard Feynman: It is the facts that matter, not the proofs. Physics can progress without the proofs, but we can't go on without the facts ... if the facts are right, then the proofs are a matter of playing around with the algebra correctly. ...(more by Feynman)
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