New book reveals student life of Charles Darwin

July 16, 2014

Charles Darwin's years as a student at the University of Cambridge were some of the most important and formative of his early life. Until now, however, Darwin's Cambridge life has remained almost completely unknown. Based on newly discovered documents and lavishly illustrated with original prints and drawings, this book reveals Darwin's student days in unprecedented detail.

In addition, several traditional mysteries are laid to rest. Did Darwin study theology?

What did Darwin's first Cambridge lodgings look like? And why did he lodge there?

Why did Darwin go to Christ's College? When did Darwin actually matriculate?

Did university proctors wear non-specific gowns in order to go incognito?

The book also shows the vast and sometimes quite shocking differences between university life then and now as well as the origins of many still familiar things such as academic gowns.

Following his student life, the book traces Darwin's later connections with Cambridge all the way up to the 2009 Darwin commemorations and the restoration of his student rooms. The book reproduces Darwin's recently discovered college bills.

More information about the book can be found at

The hardcover retails for U$ 48.00 and the softcover retails for US$ 24.00.

About the author

John van Wyhe is a historian of science at the National University of Singapore. Based for many years in Cambridge, he was a Bye-Fellow of Darwin's own college, Christ's, where he made many discoveries about Darwin's Cambridge life and led the restoration of Darwin's rooms in 2009. Van Wyhe is well known as the founder and Director of the revolutionary Darwin Online. He has published nine books. He lectures and broadcasts around the world.

World Scientific

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