A new interactive website – www.darwin.rcuk.ac.uk - has been launched today that people the chance to learn about Darwin’s theories of evolution and what they mean today. It shows how his ideas are influencing our broader culture as well as science, engineering, and social science and invites people to join in discussions with researchers.

The website will:

•Survey what interests or puzzles people about evolution, which will help inform the development of our engagement activities
•Showcase the contemporary application of evolutionary theory
•Provide a forum for discussing questions about evolution

Next year will see nationwide celebrations to mark the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his groundbreaking book On the Origin of Species (and we'll be hosting our own series of articles, events and retrospectives at DarwinDay2009.com - editors).

The Darwin Today website will give everyone the chance to get ahead by learning about and discussing evolution and its contribution to modern thinking. People will also be able to shape the public events the Research Councils will be running during 2009 to mark the anniversaries.

The Darwin Today website will feature monthly topic-based podcasts and magazine features highlighting contemporary UK research that throws light on Darwin’s theories and its relevance to modern research. The website will be highly interactive; the public will be able to post questions, rate articles and discuss and debate evolution with researchers.

The first video and discussion topic on the website is on the theme of evolution and society. It features research ranging from the evolution of language to how the media portrays evolution.

Dr Jeremy Pritchard, a Research Council funded scientist and contributor to the website, said: “The Darwin Today website is a fantastic place to learn about evolution and modern research and to join in online discussions. Every month a difference aspect of evolution or contemporary research will be explored in a video and then people can join us to discuss it.”

Dr Patrick Middleton, from the Darwin Today website team, said: “www.darwin.rcuk.ac.uk is our way of inviting people across the UK to have their say on what interests them about evolution, we’ll use these discussions to help develop the activities that we plan to run across the UK in 2009 to celebrate the anniversaries of Darwin’s birth and the publication of his theories.”