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Hawking bestseller tops poll to launch Darwin Festival 2009

London, July 2 (ANI): Stephen Hawking says he is ‘flattered’ by a Cambridge University poll voting “A Brief History of Time” as the publication most likely to have the same impact as Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species for future generations.

The online poll was run by the University in preparation for its eagerly-awaited Darwin Anniversary Festival, from July 5-10.

Some of the world’s foremost thinkers, writers and scientists will gather in Cambridge next week for the Festival marking 200 years since the great naturalist’s birth.

Staff and students at Cambridge were asked which science publication of the past half-century best deserves to be remembered in 150 years’ times. This year also marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species.

Professor Hawking said: “I’m very flattered. I’m glad that so many people share my interest in the big questions – How does the Universe work? Where do we come from?”

Meanwhile, the Darwin Festival features some of the scientific world’s most eminent names including Richard Dawkins and Lord Martin Rees while Discworld author Terry Pratchett and poet Ruth Padel represent the widespread and continuing influence of Darwin on the arts.

Nobel Prize winners Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Rockefeller University and Harold Varmus will also fly in from the United States to join a host of experts in exploring Darwin’s continued legacy, 200 years after his birth.

They will be joined by everything from string quartets to street dancers and opera singers to rappers for the Festival celebrations in the city where Darwin was an undergraduate.

Festival director Miranda Gomperts said: “Many events this year have celebrated Darwin’s 200th anniversary, but we believe the University of Cambridge’s Darwin Anniversary Festival is unique in demonstrating why Darwin’s theories continue to matter, and how they will continue to help us understand science, medicine, society and culture.

“And nowhere else this year will you find the breadth of expertise gathered in one place, at one time to debate and discuss these issues.”

In addition to lectures and discussions, participants can enjoy a range of exhibitions, shows and fringe events.

The Darwin Festival is a key event in the University of Cambridge’s wider 800th Anniversary celebrations.

Meanwhile, the poll that voted Hawking’s bestseller as the most likely to be remembered in 150 years’ time also named James Watson and Francis Crick, who proposed the double helix structure of DNA, as the scientists whose name would be best remembered in 200 years’ time. (ANI)

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