When I was organizing a 200th birthday party for Charles Darwin, I desperately wanted a life-size cut out that people could pose with. If done right, even non-scientists would want their photograph taken … and then they’d share their photographs on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, spreading acceptance of evolution in the process. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a life-size Darwin anywhere on the planet.
So I convinced Carl Buell to paint him. Carl, being a great guy in addition to a great illustrator, lets me share the digital file with individuals who will put a portable Darwin to good use. It’s simple: you contact me and convince me you need it, then I send you the file which you can then print and mount. I’d estimate that there are now 50 life-sized Darwins on the planet. If set up in a nice area, a portable Charles provides an irresistible photo op for science fans.
My long-term goal for is to encourage the use of Charles Darwin as an icon of the scientific process, and to get teachers to feature him when teaching kids about experiments. Currently, when the media needs an image for stand for science, it opts for Einstein. Darwin would be better. He was smart (like Einstein), but his curiosity, open mind, and creative use of experimentation were all off the charts. Most importantly, he had great facial hair and is thus recognizable to people around the world already. I know my goal is laughably futile, but it amuses me to try.
And here are photographs of my portable Darwin, posing with a variety of evolution fans. If you like the Santa Darwin, you can order yourself a geeky mousepad or print for your office. And here’s me posing with my Darwin, if you care.
Contact me if you’d like to synthesize him. All I ask is that you (1) post, online, at least one photograph that is in some way funny, dramatic, or alluring, (2) link to this page so that others can find get their own Darwin, and (3) credit Carl Buell as the artist.
ⓒ Colin Purrington 2004-2014