Science – Darwin’s lost notebooks have been found – Wikipedia

Cambridge (dpa) – More than 20 years after their disappearance, two original notebooks of evolutionary researcher Charles Darwin have appeared in the University Library in Cambridge.

“They are among the most fascinating documents in the entire history of science,” said librarian Jessica Gardner, who left the books in front of her desk wrapped in a pink gift bag in March.

One of the books contains an 1837 drawing of Darwin’s famous Tree of Life. “There were tears,” Gardner said. “And I think there will be more to come because we haven’t got over the emotional roller coaster yet. It means a lot to us to have these books with us again.”

After the works in the library were photographed in 2000, it was noted in 2001 that they were not in their usual place in the library. For a long time it was assumed that they had been incorrectly classified and the leather-bound notebooks were searched for among the ten million books, maps, and other manuscripts in the library. It wasn’t until 2020 that Gardner reported the book theft to the police. He began this investigation, which should continue after the books were discovered.

It’s not entirely clear where the works have been over the decades and who brought them back at the beginning of March – with Easter wishes for the librarian – and why. The area where the gift bag was found is not covered by security cameras. However, recordings from other areas of the library can provide clues. “It’s really an enigma,” Gardner said.

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In the summer, the long-lost and well-preserved notes of the famous researcher (1809-1882), who made significant contributions to the theory of evolution, will be presented to the public in a special exhibition.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 220405-99-802997 / 2

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