I hope I need no excuse for speaking about the life and achievements of Charles Darwin in his bicentenary year. Darwin was born early in 1809, on the 12th February (exactly the same day as Abraham Lincoln), and the bicentenary similarly got off to an early start with television programs, books, articles and exhibitions. 2009 also happens to be the 150th anniversary of the publication (in November 1859) of his most famous book, On the Origin of Species. That work, which set out in five hundred pages of argument and evidence the theory of evolution by natural selection, accomplished an intellectual revolution which changed the world for ever. Even if we have not read it and have only a shaky notion of the implications of evolution by natural selection, I think we are all of us aware of Darwin’s intellectual stature and importance, a fact given emphasis by the presence of his portrait on the modern British ten pound note.