The impact of the tropical nature, specially in Bahia and in Rio de Janeiro, was very important for Darwin in his scientific trail on the origin of species. The impact of the local biodiversity on his mind is clearly expressed in his notebooks and books. On the other hand, in the voyage of the Beagle, he witnessed slavery and the slave trade first hand in Brazil and the experience never left him. He was motivated by the great moral cause of that time: opposition to slavery. His attitudes towards slavery and race were possibily a significant factor influencing his scientific views. During the international commemorations of the Darwin Year, we organized in Rio de Janeiro the expedition “The Darwin Trails” – on Darwin’s footsteps in his trip to the north of the state of Rio de Janeiro in 1832 – with the proposal of realizing an educational and science popularization activity. The expedition had an intense participation of students, teachers, schools, scientists and general people in 12 cities or small towns. In each one we put commemorative plaques and had several activities: science fairs on evolution and Darwin, theatre, music, exhibitions on local history, slavery, biodiversity etc. As a result of this process, schools and local communities are promoting now an annual Darwin Trails week. In this presentation we will describe the expedition and discuss how this kind of activity, exploring the journey of a great naturalist, can be used today for promoting science education and public communication of science.">
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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Darwing trails in Brazil
An innovative activity in science communication

Ildeu Moreira   Institute of Physics - Federal University of Rio de Janeiro

Katia Mansur   Institute of Geosciences - Federal University of Rio de Janeiro

Fátima Brito   House of Science - Federal University of Rio de Janeiro

The impact of the tropical nature, specially in Bahia and in Rio de Janeiro, was very important for Darwin in his scientific trail on the origin of species. The impact of the local biodiversity on his mind is clearly expressed in his notebooks and books. On the other hand, in the voyage of the Beagle, he witnessed slavery and the slave trade first hand in Brazil and the experience never left him. He was motivated by the great moral cause of that time: opposition to slavery. His attitudes towards slavery and race were possibily a significant factor influencing his scientific views. During the international commemorations of the Darwin Year, we organized in Rio de Janeiro the expedition “The Darwin Trails” – on Darwin’s footsteps in his trip to the north of the state of Rio de Janeiro in 1832 – with the proposal of realizing an educational and science popularization activity. The expedition had an intense participation of students, teachers, schools, scientists and general people in 12 cities or small towns. In each one we put commemorative plaques and had several activities: science fairs on evolution and Darwin, theatre, music, exhibitions on local history, slavery, biodiversity etc. As a result of this process, schools and local communities are promoting now an annual Darwin Trails week. In this presentation we will describe the expedition and discuss how this kind of activity, exploring the journey of a great naturalist, can be used today for promoting science education and public communication of science.

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