Browne examines Charles Darwin

British historian E. Janet Browne, Ph.D., known for her study of 19th-century biology, specializes in examining the life, times and work of Charles Darwin. She will present the Thomas Hall Lecture “Charles Darwin and the Economy of Nature: Money, Metaphor and Adaptive Capital” at 4 p.m. Nov. 15 in the Laboratory Sciences Building auditorium.

Browne won critical acclaim for her two-volume biography of Darwin, “Charles Darwin: Voyaging” (1995) and “Charles Darwin: The Power of Place” (2002).

Browne’s biographies have been widely read by a general audience and acclaimed by reviewers with words such as “monumental” and “definitive.”

Beyond the scope of Darwin’s personal life, professional relationships and influence, her biography also has been described as a “collective biography” of the social, intellectual and political network of the Victorian scientific community. She helps readers understand how Darwin’s evolutionary idea was created and propagated in scientific circles and to the public.

Browne developed her expertise on Darwin by analyzing more than 14,000 letters while working as associate editor of the early volumes of “The Correspondence of Charles Darwin,” a continuing multivolume series, published since 1985 by Cambridge University Press. She is collaborating on a book on the gorilla as an object of scientific and cultural concern since the late 1800s.

Browne is the Aramont Professor of the History of Science at Harvard University. She earned a bachelor’s degree in natural sciences in 1972 from Trinity College in Dublin and a master’s degree and doctorate in the history of science from Imperial College in London in 1973 and 1978, respectively.

Among other positions, she lectured in the history of science at the Wellcome Institute and University College in London from 1983 to 1996 and then became a reader in the history of biology from 1996 to 2002.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 935-4620 or visit