As Charles Darwin’s 215th birthday approaches, a new app from Duquesne University allows users to engage in conversations with the iconic Victorian scientist.

Darwin Speaks contains 199 pre-generated questions that users can pose to Darwin, who responds with extensively researched answers. When his 19th century knowledge fails him, he provides information from modern day experts including scientists, theologians, and even an ACLU lawyer. The app was created by Duquesne University Biology Professor John A. Pollock with principal funding from the National Institutes of Health, NIGMS Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) and the Templeton Foundation. The app was produced through a collaboration between the University’s Partnership in Education and Dynamoid, LLC.

darwin app
The latest version of the Darwin App now boasts 199 pre-generated questions available for users to ask Darwin.

“Darwin remains history’s most famous biologist, so sharing his knowledge in a modern and entertaining way engages students to want to learn more,” Pollock said. “The app features an easy-to-use interface and enhanced visuals that create an immersive experience for students, history buffs, science nerds and the constantly curious.”

The origins of the app date back to 2009, when it was developed as a permanent exhibit at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh as well as a traveling exhibit which toured various institutions across the U.S. Re-imagined as a mobile app in 2015, the technology earned a Parents’ Choice “Recommended” award and was the subject of the scholarly publication, “Charles Darwin Synthetic Interview: A 19th Century Scientist Speaks in the 21st Century.”

This latest version of the iOS/Android app represents a significant evolution from earlier versions, providing a cutting edge experience and more than 4 hours of video content.

Visitors to Duquesne can visit the refreshed Darwin in-person by visiting the School of Science and Engineering in Mellon Hall, where a life-sized, touch screen kiosk is on display. For educators, lesson plans and activity guides that complement the app can be found on the Partnership in Education’s website.

Darwin Speaks is available for free on the Google Play and Apple app stores.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 8,000 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University's academic programs, community service and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim. 

It's time for bigger goals. Follow Duquesne University on FacebookTwitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

News Information

News Type

News Releases


February 08, 2024