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“Stolen” Charles Darwin’s notebook is mysteriously back

Cambridge — Two “stolen” notebooks written by Charles Darwin were mysteriously returned to the University of Cambridge 22 years after they were last seen.

A small book bound in leather is worth millions of pounds and contains a sketch of the scientist’s “Tree of Life”.

Their return comes 15 months after the BBC first emphasized that they were missing and the library launched a global appeal to find them.

“I’m happy,” says university librarian Dr. Jessica Gardner.

She grins widely when she breaks the news. In fact, she can’t stop her smile. “They are safe, in good condition and at home.”

However, it was the true Whodunit that returned the two postcard-sized notepads. They were left anonymously in a bright pink gift bag containing the original blue box where the notebook was stored and a plain brown envelope.

A short message “Librarian, Happy Easter X” was printed on it.

There were two notebooks inside, which were tightly wrapped in plastic wrap. The package was left on the floor of a public place in a library without a CCTV, outside Dr. Gardner’s office.

“I was trembling,” says Dr. Gardner about her reaction when she first saw the bag and its contents on March 9. “But I was also cautious because you can’t be 100% sure until we can unpack them.”

There was a painful five-day delay between finding the package and the police opening the wrap film and examining the notebook to confirm it was genuine.

“I cried,” says Dr. Gardner secretly. “And I think we still have it because we’re not beyond the emotional roller coaster. Having these homes makes a lot of sense to us.”

She admits she was afraid that the notebook would not be returned in her lifetime. She said, “I thought she might take years. The peace of mind when the notebook is returned safely is profound and almost impossible to fully express.

“I am heartbroken to know their loss and my joy when they come back is immeasurable.”

Notepad dates back to the late 1830s after Darwin returned from the Galapagos Islands. On one page, he drew a thorny sketch of a tree. This will help stimulate his theory of evolution and will become the central theory of his groundbreaking work “The Origin of the Species” over 20 years later.

“The theory of natural selection and evolution is probably the only and most important theory in the environmental sciences of life and the earth, and these are notebooks that summarize those theories,” said Professor Emeritus of History of Science and Philosophy in Cambridge. One Jim Secord says. University.

“They are some of the most notable documents in the history of science.”

The manuscripts were last seen in November 2000 after an “internal request” to remove them from the strong room of the library’s special collection to take pictures.

They were found to be missing only during routine inspections two months later. Initially, librarians believed that they had been returned to the wrong place in the vast academic library, which contained more than 10 million books, maps, and manuscripts.

However, despite various searches, the notebooks never appeared, and in 2020 Dr. Gardner concluded that they were probably stolen. She called the police and informed Interpol.

Professor Secord was one of several scholars and experts who examined the returned manuscript and concluded that it was genuine. He took me to the “line of evidence” they were looking for.

“Darwin uses different types of ink in his notebooks. For example, the famous Tree of Life page has both brown and gray inks. Convincing these types of changes. It is very difficult to have and forge.

“You can see a small piece of copper peeling off from where the hinges are located. The type of paper is the right type of paper.

“These are small signs that can be used to show that the entire team of researchers in a university library is genuine.”

According to Dr. Gardner, the notebook is “in very good condition.” She confirms that: “All the pages that should be there are there.”

She states: “Where were they? They aren’t treated very much. Wherever they are, they are clearly taken care of.

“I think we can guess that they are dry and not exposed to moisture, so we put them in a safe place other than the one who had them and what we do. Can you guess? “

The notebook is currently stored in a secure strong room in the library, but will be released in July as part of a free exhibition entitled Darwinin Conversation.

However, so many interesting questions remain. Who took the note? And who returned them?

Security cameras may eventually provide some clues. There was no CCTV at the landing where the gift bags were placed last month, but outside the building there are cameras that monitor the front and back of the library, as well as a dedicated reading room and vault.

“We have passed the CCTV available to the police,” says Dr. Gardner. “It’s a matter of their live survey.”

Meanwhile, Cambridgeshire police said: — BBC

https://saudigazette.com.sa/article/619026/Life/Art-/Stolen-Charles-Darwin-notebooks-mysteriously-returned?ref=rss&format=simple&link=link “Stolen” Charles Darwin’s notebook is mysteriously back

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