Charles Dawin was one of the most influential and disruptive scientists of the modern era. Born on the very same day as Abraham Lincoln – February 12th, 1809 – Darwin ignited a firestorm of controversy with his theory of evolution by natural selection. This month, the Friends of the Planetarium will be observing Darwin Day with a weekend devoted to LIFE! Join us for a premiere screening of a full-dome planetarium digital program, a classic movie, a lecture by a leading researcher in evolutionary biology, and other fun and fascinating events.
Friday, February 20th
6:30 pm: An Arlington Planetarium premiere of the full-dome digital show, Natural Selection. Join the young Charles Darwin on a voyage of exploration circumnavigating the world with the HMS Beagle. In Victorian times much of the physical world had been succesfully described by natural laws, but life’s central mystery was still unexplained: How could new species arise to replace those lost in extinction? Whence the variety of life? What drove the evolution of organisms, already well known in Darwin’s time through the study of fossils? Witness the thrill of scientific discovery by seeing the world through Darwin’s eyes, make observations of the most beautiful natural scenery and let the pieces of the scientific puzzle slowly but surely fall into place. Allow Darwin himself to reveal the simple and beautiful mechanism that explains the evolution of all life on Earth: natural selection, the idea that has become the central organizing priciple for all of biology.
Running time: 40 minutes; Suitable for family audiences and school groups.
☞ Bonus: a 20-minute program of short videos about Astrobiology – the study of and search for evidence of life beyond the Earth.
Produced by Mirage3D.
7:30 pm: Talk by Dr. David Mindell (National Science Foundation), “Evolution in Everyday Life”. Did you know that we share big chunks of our DNA with fish, flies, and plants? Come to this talk by world-famous evolutionary biologist, David Mindel, to find out how all creatures on Earth are related! Discover how evolutionary biology helps us understand human and environmental health.
David P. Mindell is an evolutionary biologist with research interests in the evolution of birds and genomes. He is currently Program Director in the Division of Environmental Biology at the National Science Foundation in Arlington, Virginia, and formerly served as Dean of Science and Curator at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco and Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is the author of The Evolving World.
Program duration: 1 hour, with questions; suitable for older children and adults.
Saturday, February 21st
The Planetarium was closed on Saturday, 21 Feb. because of snow and all shows were cancelled. Your ticket purchases will be refunded. Please allow three business days for your refund to appear. Sorry for the inconvenience, but the Planetarium is a part of the Arlington County school system and must close when school facilities are closed.
Sunday, February 22nd
The Planetarium has reopened and Sunday's shows will proceed on schedule.
1:30 pm: Screening of the full-dome digital program Natural Selection. (See description above.)
☞ Shown with a 20-minute program of short videos honoring Darwin Day.
3:00 pm: A screening of the popular children’s digital program, “Cell, Cell, Cell” – the story of the trillions of cells that form our bodies. Program duration: 45 min; Suitable for all ages.
☞ Shown with a 20-minute program of short videos about Astrobiology – the study of and search for evidence of life beyond the Earth.
The David M. Brown Planetarium is located at 1426 N. Quincy Street, Arlington, VA 22207.
Admission for these shows is $3 for Children (up to age 12), $5 for Members and Seniors (60+), and $7 for teens and adults.
Seats can be reserved on this website right now. Just click on the event you would like to attend in the boxed schedules at the top or bottom of this page and use our online form to buy tickets and reserve your spot. Some of the seating will be held for walk-in visitors. Unclaimed reserved seats will be released when the show begins. Tickets purchased in advance are refundable for any reason until the show for which they were purchased begins. Online ticketing will end 30 minutes prior to each show, and any unreserved seats will be made available on a first come, first served basis.
To download a colorful 8x10 poster advertising this month's weekend, click here [PDF].
Alice Monet contributed text to this article.