FYI June 30, 2018


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On This Day

1860 – The 1860 Oxford evolution debate at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History takes place.

The 1860 Oxford evolution debate took place at the Oxford University Museum in Oxford, England, on 30 June 1860, seven months after the publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species.[1] Several prominent British scientists and philosophers participated, including Thomas Henry Huxley, Bishop Samuel Wilberforce, Benjamin Brodie, Joseph Dalton Hooker and Robert FitzRoy.[1]

The debate is best remembered today for a heated exchange in which Wilberforce supposedly asked Huxley whether it was through his grandfather or his grandmother that he claimed his descent from a monkey.[2] Huxley is said to have replied that he would not be ashamed to have a monkey for his ancestor, but he would be ashamed to be connected with a man who used his great gifts to obscure the truth.[2] One eyewitness suggests that Wilberforce’s question to Huxley may have been “whether, in the vast shaky state of the law of development, as laid down by Darwin, any one can be so enamoured of this so-called law, or hypothesis, as to go into jubilation for his great great grandfather having been an ape or a gorilla?”,[3] whereas another suggests he may have said that “it was of little consequence to himself whether or not his grandfather might be called a monkey or not.”[4]

The encounter is often known as the Huxley–Wilberforce debate or the Wilberforce–Huxley debate, although this description is somewhat misleading. Rather than being a formal debate between the two, it was actually an animated discussion that occurred after the presentation of a paper by John William Draper of New York University, on the intellectual development of Europe with relation to Darwin’s theory (one of a number of scientific papers presented during the week as part of the British Association’s annual meeting).[5] Although Huxley and Wilberforce were not the only participants in the discussion, they were reported to be the two dominant parties.[5] No verbatim account of the debate exists,[1] and there is considerable uncertainty regarding what Huxley and Wilberforce actually said.[2][6][7]



Born On This Day

1912 – María Luisa Dehesa Gómez Farías, Mexican architect (d. 2009)
María Luisa Dehesa Gómez Farías (30 June 1912 – 11 March 2009) was a Mexican architect who worked for close to 50 years in the Federal District of Mexico City, primarily designing single-family homes and apartment buildings.[1] She was the first Mexican woman to graduate with a degree in architecture.


María Luisa Dehesa Gómez Farías was born on 30 June 1912[2] in Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico to Ramón Dehesa[3] and María Luisa Gómez Farías y Canedo, daughter of the Mexican Minister in London, Benito Gómez Farías (es). She was the granddaughter of Teodoro A. Dehesa Méndez on her paternal side and great-granddaughter of Valentín Gómez Farías on her maternal side.[2]

In 1933 she enrolled at the Academia de San Carlos (the National School of Architecture) of the National Autonomous University of Mexico.[3] In her class of 113 students, only five were women[1] and they were required to study in a separate workshop from the men.[3] She graduated in 1937, the first Mexican woman to graduate with a degree in architecture. Her thesis, which won honorable mention from the jurors,[3] was entitled Artillery Barracks Type. It was accepted in 1939 and she attained her professional designation.[4]

After she finished school, Dehesa married Manuel Millán and they subsequently had four children.[2] She joined the Public Works Department in Mexico City and served for nearly 50 years in various divisions,[1] primarily designing single-family homes and apartment buildings.[2] In 1974, she was announced as a joint winner of the Ruth Rivera Prize, together with the first Mexican female civil engineer, Concepción Mendizábal Mendoza.[5] In 2006, the College of Architects of Mexico City, honored her for her contributions.[3]

Notimex published Dehesa’s memoirs, entitled Los Años Valientes, with illustrations by her daughter Elizabeth Millán de Guerra, a graphic designer.[2] Dehesa died in Mexico City in 2009.[6]




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