Widely regarded as one of the most influential personalities in the history of mankind, Charles Darwin was an English biologist, naturalist, and geologist. He is credited with publishing the Theory of Evolution, which explains the evolution of life from a unicellular organism to human beings. A prolific writer, Charles Darwin also wrote important books on plants and barnacles.
Charles Lyell was a Scottish geologist best remembered for his work Principles of Geology, which explains the origin of the earth. He is also remembered for his pioneering explanation of climate change. A close friend of Charles Darwin, Charles Lyell is also credited with influencing many of Darwin's works pertaining to the theories of evolution.
The pioneer of modern geology, James Hutton laid down the principle of uniformitarianism in geology. While he was initially interested in chemistry, he had later also studied law and had then moved on to medicine. His iconic Theory of the Earth explained the science behind rock formations.
William Buckland was an English theologian, palaeontologist, and geologist. He is best remembered for his service as the Dean of Westminster. He is credited with writing the first full account of a dinosaur fossil, which he named Megalosaurus. William Buckland pioneered the usage of fossilized faeces to reconstruct ecosystems. Buckland was the recipient of the prestigious Copley Medal.
British geologist William Smith, who is regarded as the Father of English Geology, is remembered for developing the science of stratigraphy. His geologic map of England and Wales was the world’s first nationwide and detailed geologic map. He was also the recipient of the first Wollaston Medal.
Arthur Holmes was an English geologist who pioneered the usage of radiometric dating of minerals. He was the first earth scientist to fully understand the thermal and mechanical implications of mantle convection. Arthur Holmes is also remembered for his advocacy of the theory of continental drift. Holmes was the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Penrose Medal.
Gideon Mantell was a British geologist, obstetrician, and palaeontologist. Mantell's attempt to reconstruct the structure of Iguanodon started the scientific study of dinosaurs. He is also credited with discovering the first fossil teeth of Iguanodon. Subsequently, Gideon Mantell went on to discover and identify much of the skeleton of Iguanodon.
Adam Sedgwick was a British Anglican priest and geologist. He is credited with guiding and mentoring Charles Darwin during his early years. However, Sedgwick went on to oppose Darwin's theory of evolution. The world's oldest student-run geological society, The Sedgwick Club, was established in his honor in 1880.
Born to a surgeon, William Withering followed in his father’s footsteps to become a physician, though he also had immense knowledge of botany, geology, and chemistry. He not only treated edema, or dropsy, with the help of the foxglove plant but also studied scarlet fever and suggested rum as a medical substitute.
William Hopkins was an English geologist and mathematician. He is remembered for serving as a private tutor of prospective undergraduate Cambridge mathematicians, which earned him the nickname senior-wrangler maker. Hopkins also played first-class cricket and was associated with Cambridge University Cricket Club. He had an unfortunate end to his life as he spent his final years in a lunatic asylum.
A pioneer of marine geophysics, geophysicist Edward Bullard was best known for his work on geodynamo and seismology and was a professor at the University of Cambridge. Initially a nuclear physicist, he switched to geophysics to find a lucrative job during the Great Depression. He was eventually knighted for his achievements.
British geologist and archaeologist Robert Bruce Foote is remembered for his pioneering contribution to the study of the prehistory of India. He was in his early 20s when he joined the Geological Survey of India and soon made many discoveries, including that of the first Paleolithic hand axe in India.
British explorer and geologist Joseph Thomson was the first European to enter a large part of eastern Africa. His exploration eventually led to the mass colonization of Africa, known as the Scramble for Africa. He secured British mining and trade rights in Africa. Thomson’s gazelle is a type of east-African gazelle named after him.
John Milne was a British mining engineer and geologist. He is credited with co-founding the Seismological Society of Japan which raised money for the invention of seismographs. John Milne and his team went on to invent the horizontal pendulum seismograph which allowed him to detect various kinds of earthquake waves.
Henry De la Beche was an English palaeontologist and geologist. He is best remembered for his association with the Geological Survey of Great Britain, where he served as the first director. He was also associated with the Palaeontographical Society, where he was the first president. Henry De la Beche helped develop early geological survey methods.
John Stevens Henslow was not just a priest but also revolutionized the teaching methods of botany at Cambridge University. One of his students was legendary naturalist Charles Darwin. He also co-founded the Cambridge Philosophical Society and explored various regions, such as the Isle of Man, as a geologist.
English botanist Henry Nicholas Ridley is best remembered for his contribution to the cultivation of rubber in the Malay peninsula. His passion to achieve his goal earned him the nickname Mad Ridley. Of his written works, one of the most significant was the 5-volume Flora of the Malay Peninsula.
John Evans was an English geologist and archaeologist. He is best remembered for his service as the president of several prestigious institutions and societies, including the Society of Antiquaries, the Royal Numismatic Society, the Geological Society of London, and the British Association for the Advancement of Science. John Evans also wrote papers on geological and archaeological subjects.
British geologist Richard Dixon Oldham made ground-breaking discoveries in the field of seismology and was also the first to discover the proof of the existence of the Earth’s core. His pioneering studies include his work on the 1897 Assam earthquake in India. He was named a Fellow of The Royal Society.
Ralph Alger Bagnold was an English desert explorer, soldier, and geologist. His work and contribution to the field of Aeolian processes have been used by NASA to study the terrain of Mars. In 1935, Ralph Alger Bagnold was honored by the Royal Geographical Society with the prestigious Founder's Medal.
A prominent force behind the Canadian National Building Code, Robert Legget was not just a civil engineer but also a talented author. He also initially taught soil mechanics and engineering, and penned books such as Ottawa Waterway. He was also made the Companion of the Order of Canada.