geology

Benjamin Silliman and the 1807 Meteor

Benjamin Silliman and the 1807 Meteor

On August 8, 1779, early American chemist and science educator Benjamin Silliman was born. He was one of the first American professors of science, at Yale College, the first person to distill petroleum in America, and a founder of the American Journal of Science, the oldest continuously published scientific journal in the United States. Silliman best known for researching the chemical composition of a meteorite that fell in 1807, his report being…
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Charles Lapworth and the Ordovician Period

Charles Lapworth and the Ordovician Period

On March 13, 1920, English geologist Charles Lapworth passed away. Lapworth pioneered faunal analysis using index fossils and identified the Ordovician period, the second of six of the Paleozoic Era, which covers the time between 485.4 and 443.8 million years ago. Education And Academic Career Charles Lapworth was born at Faringdon in Berkshire (now Oxfordshire) and educated as a teacher at the Culham Diocesan Training College near Abingdon, Oxfordshire. In 1864 Lapworth…
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Sir William Hamilton and the Volcanoes

Sir William Hamilton and the Volcanoes

On December 13, 1730, Scottish diplomat, antiquarian, archaeologist and vulcanologist Sir William Hamilton was born. Hamilton served as British Ambassador to the Kingdom of Naples from 1764 to 1800, where he studied the volcanoes Vesuvius and also Etna on Sicily. Early Years Hamilton was born in either London or at Park Place, Berkshire, the fourth son of Lord Archibald Hamilton, governor of Jamaica, and Lady Jane Hamilton. His mother was a favourite,…
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Peter Simon Pallas – A Pioneer in Zoography

Peter Simon Pallas – A Pioneer in Zoography

On September 22, 1741, German zoologist and botanist Peter Simon Pallas was born. Pallas was a pioneer in zoogeography by going beyond merely cataloging specimens with simple descriptions, but included observations of causal relationships between animals and their environment. He looked for hidden regularities in natural phenomena over an extreme range of habitats. Pallas was born in Berlin, the son of Professor of Surgery Simon Pallas at the Collegium medico-chirurgicum in Berlin.…
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Robert S. Dietz and the Seafloor Spreading

Robert S. Dietz and the Seafloor Spreading

On September 14, US marine geologist, geophysicist and oceanographer Robert Sinclair Dietz was born. He is best known for his pioneering research along with Harry Hammond Hess concerning seafloor spreading (a term he coined), in which new crustal material continually upwells from the Earth’s depths along the mid-ocean ridges and spreads outward at a rate of several inches per year. Robert Dietz was educated at the University of Illinois starting from 1933…
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Sir Richard Owen and the Interpretation of Fossils

Sir Richard Owen and the Interpretation of Fossils

On July 20, 1804, English biologist, comparative anatomist and paleontologist Sir Richard Owen was born. Despite being a controversial figure, Owen is generally considered to have been an outstanding naturalist with a remarkable gift for interpreting fossils. Owen is probably best remembered today for coining the word Dinosauria (meaning “Terrible Reptile” or “Fearfully Great Reptile“). And today, dinosaurs seem to be more popular than ever, taking into account recent revenues of the latest sequel of…
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James Hutton – the Father of Modern Geology

James Hutton – the Father of Modern Geology

On June 3, 1726, Scottish geologist, physician, chemical manufacturer, naturalist, and experimental agriculturalist James Hutton was born. He originated the theory of uniformitarianism, a fundamental principle of geology, which explains the features of the Earth’s crust by means of natural processes over geologic time. Hutton’s work established geology as a proper science, and thus he is often referred to as the “Father of Modern Geology“. “The past history of our globe must be explained…
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James Pollard Espy – the Storm King

James Pollard Espy – the Storm King

On May 9, 1785, U.S. Meteorologist James Pollard Espy was born. Espy developed a convection theory of storms and developed the use of the telegraph in assembling weather observation data by which he studied the progress of storms and laid the basis for scientific weather forecasting. The youngest of ten children, James Espy was born in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, USA. He had an ardent desire for knowledge and commenced teaching school as…
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Christian Leopold von Buch and the Jurassic System

Christian Leopold von Buch and the Jurassic System

On April 26, 1774, German geologist and paleontologist Christian Leopold von Buch was born. He is best known as one of the most important contributors to geology in the first half of the 19th century. His scientific interest was devoted to a broad spectrum of geological topics: volcanism, fossils, stratigraphy and more. His most remembered accomplishment is the scientific definition of the jurassic system. Leopold von Buch was the son of an ambassador…
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Vladimir Vernadsky and the Biosphere

Vladimir Vernadsky and the Biosphere

On March 12 (February 28 according to the old calendar), 1863, Ukrainian and Soviet mineralogist and geochemist Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky was born. He is considered one of the founders of geochemistry, biogeochemistry, and of radiogeology. He is most noted for his 1926 book “The Biosphere” in which he popularized the hypothesis that life is the geological force that shapes the Earth. Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky was born on March 12, 1863 in Saint…
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