Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Darwin Underground: a story in 12 poems

One of the more bizarre, but eloquent, additions to the Darwin celebrations this year is Darwin Underground: 12 canto poems written by Robert Whittle.

The poems imagine Darwin reappearing in London in 2009. As the story progresses, he learns how science has developed, its portrayal in the media and how it is viewed by members of the public and government. Along the way he becomes embroiled in a public debate over the creation of synthetic cells and is subject to an investigation by the police.

If you’re not used to canto poems (which I’m certainly not) it’s a tough read at first, but the story is very imaginative and encompasses so many of the issues affecting science today: from government legislation to science communication (TV in particular), the biotech industry and public perceptions. It also highlights just how much modern science can be linked to Darwin’s theories.

Update 29/7/09 Added a direct link to the Darwin Underground website

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