Today is February 12, 2016. Two hundred and seven years ago on February 12, 1809 two men destined to change the world were born. Abraham Lincoln was born on that date in a one-room log cabin on the Sinking Spring Farm in Hardin County, Kentucky. Charles Darwin was born on that date in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England.
So I thought that I would celebrate these two men with historic photographs of each. Figure 1 is a daguerreotype of Lincoln, rail splitter, taken in 1846, when he was a congressman by Nicholas H. Shepherd. As such it is one of the earliest portraits of the future president. Figure 2 is a stunning, pensive albumen portrait of Darwin taken by Julia Margaret Cameron.
In a sense Darwin explained to us for the first time how structure and order can arise by random processes.As such, the random vagaries of history aligned the events which shaped the destinies of these men. Neither life was preordained, but the ultimate results are nonetheless marvelous.