News

RSMAS to host musical celebration of Darwin Day

Although he never met Charles Darwin in person, when Richard Milner is dressed in a long coat, rounded top hat and white beard, he might be mistaken for the father of natural selection.

Feb. 12, 2009, marked what would have been Darwin’s 200th birthday and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origins Of Species.

Darwin is most noted for his impact on science with his evolutionary theory of natural selection.

However, Debra Lieberman, a professor in the department of psychology at the University of Miami, said Darwin’s principles have affected areas of human behavior that extend from psychology to economics to political science.

Milner’s highly-acclaimed one man musical show, Charles Darwin: Live and in Concert, will be performed today at 6 p.m. at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS) in honor of Darwin Day.

Milner, a physical and cultural anthropologist, created a show in which he will not only be acting as Darwin the scientist, but also as Darwin the singing comedian.

At 12-years-old, Milner and his longtime friend, Stephen Jay Gould, loved animals and often went to the Bronx Zoo and to the American Museum of Natural History.

Milner stated that Darwin was always Gould’s and his biggest hero.

“If you like animals, soon you wonder where they came from and how we are related to them and you wind up at Darwin’s doorstep,” Milner said.

As he grew older, Milner’s childhood interest in Darwin never seemed to dissipate.

Now, as a renowned historian, Milner performs at colleges, museums and conferences around the world as Darwin; Thomas Henry Huxley, who is Darwin’s bulldog; Alfred Russel Wallace, known for independently proposing natural selection; and Gould, now a famous author and paleontologist.

Milner explains Darwin’s scientific impact on the world through singing songs about Darwin’s history.

“I love science and I love musical theater and I wanted to combine them. That’s my heart,” Milner said.

One of Milner’s songs, “Let Him Be First,” adds humor to the long-standing debate over who discovered natural selection first: Wallace or Darwin?

Milner said the humor he finds in Darwin does not come from his scientific books such as On the Origins of Species, but from his private and personal letters.

“It’s a real adventure to read through them. Thousands of them are already online,” he said.

Robert Ginsburg, a professor of marine geology at RSMAS and the main man in getting Milner to come to UM for Darwin Day, said Milner is extremely talented in finding a humorous side to Darwin.

“He is perceptive and clever,” Ginsburg said.

Milner added that seeing the show is a fun way to learn science and history, especially when the subject can be a bit boring.

“After all, you don’t go away humming a textbook,” he said.

Ginsburg agrees. He said the show will educationally benefit the students.

“I hope it will leave a memorable souvenir of Darwin and his associates,” he said.

February 15, 2009

Reporters

Lonnie Nemiroff

Contributing News Writer


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

The University of Miami got off to a dream start, but could not hold on against No. 1 and defending ...

Photo Gallery: UM v. Boston College | Feb. 24, 2018 … Click to Continue » ...

Lonnie Walker IV’s 3-pointer with 2.3 seconds remaining capped a 14-point comeback and lifted Miami ...

March is just around the corner; and University of Miami basketball coach Jim Larrañaga wants his pl ...

Erykah Davenport always hated being The Tall Girl. Every class picture, she was in the back row, tow ...

Student a cappella group BisCaydence wins quarterfinals and advances to the next round in the intern ...

A closer look at the University of Miami's executive vice president for business and finance an ...

The popular Christian minister preached to more people than any other evangelist in history. ...

A vigil on the University of Miami campus, organized by UM students who graduated from Marjory Stone ...

The latest speaker in the popular lecture series at the Rosenstiel School, Jeff Goodell, shared insi ...

Lonnie Walker IV's three with 2.4 seconds left propelled Miami past BC at the Watsco Center. ...

The two-time defending ACC indoor champion Miami women could not make it a three-peat on Saturday, b ...

Kevin Arreaga's bronze medal in the men's weight throw led the Canes on Friday in Clemson. ...

No. 24 Miami got off to a dream start but could not hold on against No. 1 Florida Friday night, fall ...

The Hurricanes were momentarily slowed down by the first rain delay of the season, but held the Coug ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.