Charles Darwin University
enews home

CDU announces first Charles Darwin Scholar

By Leanne Coleman

Professor Janet Browne is CDU’s first Charles Darwin Scholar Professor Janet Browne is CDU’s first Charles Darwin Scholar

Harvard University Aramont Professor of the History of Science Professor Janet Browne has been named Charles Darwin University’s first Charles Darwin Scholar.

The honour was bestowed on Professor Browne by Vice-Chancellor Professor Barney Glover as he officially launched CDU’s first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) entitled “Charles Darwin, Evolution and Tropical Australia”.

A historian of science, Professor Browne is widely known for her work on the history of 19th Century biology and has specialised in re-evaluating the life, times and work of Charles Darwin.

Professor Glover said CDU’s Charles Darwin Scholars would be eminent and accomplished researchers in either the history of Charles Darwin, evolutionary biology, or fields closely related to either of these areas, from anywhere throughout the world.

“2013 is an appropriate year in which to commence this program, being the 155th anniversary of the year in which both Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace published joint papers on natural selection in the Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London 1858,” Professor Glover said.

“We are privileged that Professor Browne has accepted this position and look forward to her visit to Darwin in July 2014 to deliver the first annual ‘Darwin Oration’ on her work.”

Among her many achievements, Professor Browne has won critical acclaim for her two-volume biography of Darwin, Charles Darwin: Voyaging (1995) and Charles Darwin: The Power of Place (2002), described by reviewers as “monumental” and “definitive”. She has won the National Book Critics Circle Award for biography, the Pfizer Prize for Biography from the British History of Science Society, and the Royal Society of Literature Prize.

Responding in a pre-recorded video at the announcement, Professor Browne told the gathering at the MOOC launch in Darwin she was thrilled to have been considered for the honorary position and looked forward to travelling to Darwin next year.

The Scholars will hold the honorary position for 12 months during which time they will visit Darwin for a short period to deliver the annual Darwin Oration and be available to staff and students for discussion, collaboration and other activities.