Darwin Day began in the United States back in the 1990s to commemorate the anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin on 12 February 1809. The event is popular in academic communities and humanist groups in the US and parts of Europe. On this occasion, talks and various activities are held to highlight Darwin’s contribution to science, or to promote science in general.
Over the past few years, the idea of celebrating Darwin Day has slowly made its way to parts of Asia. These Darwin Days were usually started by local humanist/atheist activists or expatriates. Humanists in Singapore, for example, have been holding events related to Darwin since 2009, the 150th anniversary of his birth.
This year, there will be least 6 Darwin Day events on the Asian continent. They are located in Israel, Russia (Siberia), Malaysia, Singapore, India and Taiwan. A map compiled by the Darwin Day website shows where these events will be held.
Two Taiwan-based groups, Taichung Skeptics in the Pub and Taichung Atheists, Freethinkers, and Humanists have decided to spend Darwin Day, which they named “International Darwin Day” at the National Museum of Natural Science in Taichung, Taiwan. The museum is one of the most heavily attended museums in Taiwan. It’s 50 permanent exhibit areas cover subjects on astronomy, space science, paleontology, ecology, gems and minerals, human cultures, tropical plants, and geology.
This is the second Darwin Day celebrated in Malaysia. This year, the Malaysians will hold a screening of Inherit The Wind. It stars Oscar winners Spencer Tracy and Fredric March, and Oscar nominated Gene Kelly. Inherit The Wind is a gripping classic based on a real-life case in 1925, two great lawyers argue the case for and against a science teacher accused of the crime of teaching evolution.
In Israel, a Darwin Day symposium will be held at the University of Haifa. The topic: Developmental Plasticity and the Molecular Basis of Evolutionary Change. Eight speakers will be featured, including guest speakers from Ireland, USA and Portugal. The event is organised by academics at the university itself.
In India, Darwin Day will be held at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Mohali, located in Punjab. It is organised by Biology Discussion Forum IISERM. Events include a Wildlife Photography Exhibition, a quiz on the The Voyage of the Beagle, lectures, essay writing, documentary screening. The event will be held over several days.
Darwin Day in Singapore will be celebrated with a field trip and some games at the Singapore Botanical Gardens. The Gardens is currently an applicant for UNESCO World Heritage Site status. There will be a self-guided tour of the Evolution Gardens, which tells the evolutionary story of plant life on Earth throughout the ages.
Darwin Day will be celebrated at the Molchanov-Sibirsky Library in Irkutsk. The city is the administrative center of Irkutsk Oblast, Russia, and one of the largest cities in Siberia. There will be lectures by local academics such as D.Sherbakov, Y.Konstabtinov and I Knizhin.