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An Intimate History of Evolution

5 October 2022 17.30 - 18.45
Add to Calendar05/10/2022 17:3005/10/2022 18:45UTCAn Intimate History of Evolution Hall and onlinefalseDD/MM/YYYY15Jesus Collegeevent_11693confirmed
Frankopan Hall and online

Join Jesus College Honorary Fellow Alison Bashford FBA, author of An Intimate History of Evolution, in conversation with Professor Sujit Sivasundaram. 

In his early twenties, poor, wracked with depression, stranded in the Coral Sea on the seemingly endless survey mission of HMS Rattlesnake, hopelessly in love with the young Englishwoman Henrietta Heathorn, Thomas Henry Huxley was a nobody. And yet together he and Henrietta would return to London and go on to found one of the great intellectual and scientific dynasties of their age.

The Huxley family through four generations profoundly shaped how we see ourselves. In innumerable fields observing both nature and culture, they worked as scientists, novelists, mystics, film-makers, poets and educators.

Alison Bashford’s new book, An Intimate History of Evolution, interweaves the Huxleys’ momentous public achievements with their private triumphs and tragedies.

Their speciality was evolution in all its forms – at the grandest level of species, deep time, the Earth, and at the most personal and intimate. They shaped great organisations – the Natural History Museum, Imperial College, the London Zoo, UNESCO, the World Wildlife Fund – and they shaped fundamentally how we see ourselves, as individuals and as a species, one among many.

Join us to hear from the author about this extraordinary family and learn how much we owe – for better or worse – to the unceasing curiosity, self-absorption and enthusiasms of this small, strange group of men and women.

The event will be followed by a drinks reception and a chance to purchase the book. 

About the speaker

Alison Bashford FBA is Honorary Fellow, Jesus College, Cambridge, and currently Laureate Professor of History at University of New South Wales. Previously she was Vere Harmsworth Professor of Imperial and Naval History, at the University of Cambridge. 

She is author of books on Malthus and world population, on the history of public health and quarantine, and of eugenics. In 2021 she was awarded the Dan David Laureate Prize for her work in the history of medicine.

In-person and online registration is available below or visit our Eventbrite page to book.