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Book launch: A Natural Calling by Professor Tony Larkum



1 October 2009

Come to the launch of the fascinating new book A Natural Calling: Life, Letters and Diaries of Charles Darwin and William Darwin Fox, by Professor Tony Larkum from the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Sydney.

Invitation to the launch of 'A Natural Calling: Life, Letters and Diaries of Charles Darwin and William Darwin Fox', by Professor Tony Larkum from the School of Biological Sciences.
Invitation to the launch of 'A Natural Calling: Life, Letters and Diaries of Charles Darwin and William Darwin Fox', by Professor Tony Larkum from the School of Biological Sciences.

The launch will be held on Friday 9 October 2009 in the Macleay Museum at the University of Sydney from 4.30pm until 7.00pm. At the launch, Professor Larkum will speak about his book, followed by readings of some of the letters in the book by professional actors, over drinks and nibbles.

A Natural Calling provides new factual material on the life of Charles Darwin, following research undertaken over a 25 year period by Professor Larkum into Darwin's relationship with his cousin William Darwin Fox.

The book provides a fresh look at one of the most important biographical sources for the life of Charles Darwin - the letters exchanged between these two men - plus the diaries of William Darwin Fox, which have never been accessed before. Professor Larkum finally found William Darwin Fox's diaries after an exhaustive search for descendants of Fox.

"The relationship between Charles Darwin and William Darwin Fox has been acknowledged as a major biographical source of information on Darwin's life," explained Professor Larkum.

"My book gives an account of the fascinating lives of these two Victorian naturalists, and compares and contrasts their experiences. Darwin and Fox were undergraduates together at Christ's College, Cambridge, and corresponded with each other for the rest of their lives, dying within two years of each other," said Professor Larkum.

"Both were studying to be clergymen of the Church of England, when Darwin was offered a place on The Beagle. Thereafter their lives diverged, as Fox became the country parson that Darwin might have been."

"Nevertheless, Fox supplied many facts to Darwin, which were used in the Origin of Species and later books. Fox introduced Darwin to beetles," explained Professor Larkum.

Book cover of 'A Natural Calling: Life, Letters and Diaries of Charles Darwin and William Darwin Fox', by Professor Tony Larkum from the School of Biological Sciences.
Book cover of 'A Natural Calling: Life, Letters and Diaries of Charles Darwin and William Darwin Fox', by Professor Tony Larkum from the School of Biological Sciences.

"Their diaries and letters allow us a vivid insight into the unique relationship of these two naturalist cousins and friends."

Professor Larkum has carefully pieced together details from William Darwin Fox's life, and by comparing the views and opinions exchanged between the two men, the book greatly enlarges our appreciation of the life and contribution of Charles Darwin at a profoundly personal level.

Beginning life in London, Professor Larkum received all his basic academic training in the UK. After graduating from Oxford University with a Doctor of Philosophy, he spent three years as a research fellow in a plant biophysics laboratory in Cambridge working on photosynthesis and chloroplasts.

At the book launch: (l-r) Professor Robyn Overall, Head of the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Sydney, Professor Tony Larkum, author of the new book  'A Natural Calling', and Carla Avolio, Science Communicator in the School of Biological Sciences.
At the book launch: (l-r) Professor Robyn Overall, Head of the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Sydney, Professor Tony Larkum, author of the new book 'A Natural Calling', and Carla Avolio, Science Communicator in the School of Biological Sciences.

He has a long-held interest in the history and philosophy of biology. Central to this is an interest in evolution and the contributions of Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace. Professor Larkum is an Emeritus Professor in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Sydney.

A Natural Calling: Life, Letters and Diaries of Charles Darwin and William Darwin Fox, by Professor Tony Larkum, is published by Springer to celebrate the Darwin Anniversaries in 2009 - the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species.

Order your copy of the book at: www.springer.com/life+sci/book/978-1-4020-9232-9

Book launch details:

Date: Friday 9 October 2009
Time: 4:30pm - 7.00pm
Location: Macleay Museum, University of Sydney
Cost: Free
Contact: Carla Avolio
Phone: 02 9351 4543
Email:carla.avolio@bio.usyd.edu.au

At the book launch: Mrs Hilary Larkum, wife of Professor Tony Larkum, who read from the letters in 'A Natural Calling', Professor Tony Larkum, author of the new book, and Dr Michael Charleston, Senior Lecturer in Bioinformatics at the University of Sydney, who played Charles Darwin and William Darwin Fox in readings from the new book.
At the book launch: Mrs Hilary Larkum, wife of Professor Tony Larkum, who read from the letters in 'A Natural Calling', Professor Tony Larkum, author of the new book, and Dr Michael Charleston, Senior Lecturer in Bioinformatics at the University of Sydney, who played Charles Darwin and William Darwin Fox in readings from the new book.


Contact: Katynna Gill

Phone: 02 9351 6997

Email: 0d592341223d0a463e0d592828170a3b28573726251c0b0f