2009 is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of the publication of The Origin of Species. There are celebrations of Charles Darwin's life and contributions scheduled throughout the year, including a year-long set of articles published by Science magazine, the journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Julian Huxley, known to UNESCO followers as the first Director General of the Organization, is better known to the world as one of the key thinkers in developing the synthesis of Darwin's theory of evolution and the modern scientific understanding of genetics. While Darwin did not understand why characteristics were passed from parents to their offspring, molecular genetics have illuminated that issue. Huxley was one of the first to realize the connection and to describe it in his book, Evolution the Modern Synthesis.