This brilliant 19th-century naturalist’s intense curiosity about the diversity of species led him to a new understanding of the world around us—and our place in it.

Evidence collected during the five-year voyage of the HMS Beagle led to Darwin’s revolutionary theory that species adapt to different environments and change over time: all life, including humans, has evolved from a common ancestor through the process of natural selection. The new tools of genetics and molecular biology continue to build on Darwin’s radical ideas and refine our understanding of the mechanisms of evolution, which is essential to the study of life sciences.