Darwin & Orchids: the Passion behind the unifying theory of biology
Darwin's early history revealed a passion for natural history and a disdain for medical school. Ackerman's talk covers the different components that Darwin pieced together to formulate his theory of evolution which he described in "On the Origin of Species", a 450 page book that Darwin considered to be just an abstract. In subsequent books, he elaborated on the evidence for natural selection, the first of which was on orchid pollination mechanisms. The elaborate contrivances by which orchids are fertilized by insects enhances the probability of cross-pollination, and provided strong, but indirect evidence for natural selection and that nature abhors selfing.