Darwin’s On the Origin of Species
A Modern Rendition

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     by Daniel Duzdevich

     with a Foreword by Olivia Judson


Available on Darwin Day 2014, February 12th, from Indiana University Press.


Order the book. Also available through Indie Bound.

About the Modern Darwin

On the Origin of Species is surprisingly difficult to read. Darwin’s style does not always convey the beauty of his ideas to a modern audience. And so the most important book in biology, rich in concepts fundamental to our understanding of the living world, has become one of those books that everyone has heard of, but few have actually read. Darwin’s On the Origin of Species: A Modern Rendition is an attempt to tackle the language of the original, and make the work readable without sacrificing those important concepts. It is not an abridgement. It is not a summary. It could perhaps best be described as a “translation.”

This website features information about the project and some interesting links about evolution. We will update content regularly to announce events and news.

Buy It!

Order the book from Indiana University Press or through Indie Bound.

News and Events


02.17.20 Indiana University Press recently launched a Royalty Fund, and Daniel is now a proud participant. All royalty proceeds from book sales will go to support first-time authors at IUP!

05.09.16 The PhDISH blog features graduate students writing about science and health and my post about the origins of the Modern Origin has just gone up!

08.26.14 Daniel's talk to the Empiricist League has been posted on Youtube. It's about life, the universe, and everything!

04.03.14 The Well-Read Naturalist blog posts about the book. Thanks to John E. Riutta.

03.15.14 Daniel is interviewed about what he's been reading at the Book Culture bookshop blog.

02.27.14 The book is reviewed in the Spring 2014 issue of ForeWord Reviews.

02.19.14 Check out the blog interview with Daniel over at artlab.

02.18.14 The book appears on The Birdbooker Report blog. Thanks to GrrlScientist of Maniraptora.

02.07.14 Indiana University Press has produced a podcast with Daniel – hear him discuss the story behind the book.

Spring 2014 Darwin's On the Origin of Species: A Modern Rendition is featured in the Indiana University Press Spring 2014 catalog.


02.09.15 Wallace and Darwin: Inspiration, Legacy, and the Origins of Evolutionary Theory A Conversation Between James T. Costa and Daniel Duzdevich

7:00pm, Columbia University, Jerome Greene Hall, Rm. 103 435 W. 116th St. (entrance bt/w Amsterdam Ave. and Morningside Dr.)

Flyer for February 9th, 2015 event at Columbia University. Click to open full size flyer.

Charles Darwin was far from the first to suggest that species change with time. And he was not the only one to propose natural selection as the mechanism of species change. Alfred Russel Wallace, Darwin's sometime rival, friend, and colleague, had the same idea during a feverish fit while on an expedition to southeast Asia. The manuscript Wallace fatefully sent to Darwin describing his revolutionary thoughts spurred the elder naturalist to go public. Their papers were read at the Linnean Society of London on July 1, 1858, immediately after which Darwin hastened to complete the watershed work that would become On the Origin of Species. This conversation will explore Wallace's life, his remarkable scientific contributions, and his fascinating personal and intellectual relationship with Darwin.

James T. Costa is Director of the Highlands Biological Station and Professor of Biology at Western Carolina University. His fieldwork and scholarship range from social evolution and behavior to the history of evolutionary thinking. He is the author of The Annotated Origin: A Facsimile of the First Edition of On the Origin of Species (Harvard, 2009), On the Organic Law of Change: A Facsimile Edition and Annotated Transcription of Alfred Russel Wallace's 'Species Notebook' of 1855–1859 (Harvard, 2013), and most recently of Wallace, Darwin, and the Origin of Species (Harvard, 2014).

Daniel Duzdevich is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Biological Sciences at Columbia University, where he studies the interactions between DNA and proteins at the scale of individual molecules. He is the author of Darwin's On the Origin of Species: A Modern Rendition (Indiana, 2014).

Free and open to the public. Q&A to follow, plus a chance to meet with the authors!

05.04.14 The show was a blast. We learned about the frontiers of molecular biology and were treated to a front-row tour of the human voice throughout history. Thanks to Stephany Boa for sharing her musical gifts, neuroscientist-musician David Sulzer and chemist-poet Roald Hoffman for organizing things, and that Village pillar of all things creative and smart, the Cornelia Street Cafe. Entertaining Science at the Cornelia Street Cafe. Singer-songwriter Stephany Boa will break down the intricacies of classical and pop music, and Daniel will deconstruct the complexities of thinking biologically. Art is science, science is art!

04.29.14 We had a fun time at the Empiricist League! The audience was great and the beer was Brooklyn-tastic. Thanks again to the organizers, David Leibowitz and Karen Ingram: we wish them all the best in bringing Science to the People for years to come.

Flyer for April 29th Event at Empiricist. Click to open full size flyer.

Daniel will speak at the Empiricist League on April 29th, hosted by Over the Eight in Brooklyn. Drop by at 8:30 to hear three awesome short talks about evolution! The Empiricist League: "Science, Exploration, Beer."

02.25.14 The book launch at Book Culture was great. Thanks to everyone who dropped by, to the bookshop staff, and to Maryam Zaringhalam for a great interview! Book launch on February 25th! Drop by Book Culture bookshop near Columbia at 7:00pm for wine and cheese, and hear Maryam Zaringhalam of artlab talk Darwin, language, and science with Daniel Duzdevich.


Charles Darwin revolutionized our understanding of the living world. Trained as a geologist and naturalist, he cultivated an exceptional capacity for careful and skeptical observation. All this is apparent in his masterwork, the Origin, which is one of those very rare scientific books to have founded a field, and still be relevant to modern readers.

Daniel Duzdevich leveraged the magic of not sleeping to usher this book through publication while pursuing a Ph.D. in the laboratory of Eric C. Greene at Columbia University. Back then, he studied biological molecules up-close with fancy microscopes. He's currently a postdoc in the laboratory of Jack W. Szostak at the Harvard University Origins of Life Initiative. Research preoccupies him most of the time, but he is also fascinated by the relationship between science and language

Educated at Stanford and Oxford, Olivia Judson is an evolutionary biologist and writer based at Imperial College London. She is the author of Dr. Tatiana’s Sex Advice to All Creation: The Definitive Guide to the Evolutionary Biology of Sex, which has been translated into more than fifteen languages, and was also made into a television show. She is a former staff writer for the Economist, and has also written a regular online column for The New York Times. She is currently working on a second book and writing for National Geographic.

Myles Marshall is a Research Assistant at Columbia University in New York. A life long passion for drawing has led him to work on many creative projects ranging from commissioned design work and consulting to videos explaining complex chemistry concepts to designing the graphics for this book.

Thomas Cole is a computer engineer and sometimes designer based in Michigan. He is responsible for the way this site feels, some of the way it looks, and keeping it up and running. An autodidact, he uses the computer to indulge his endless curiosity and create, both for himself and others.


For press inquires, lecture requests, or questions about the book, you can contact Daniel Duzdevich at: DD@themoderndarwin.com

To request a review copy, contact Mandy Hussey at: