Sir Charles Lyell (1797-1875)
Father of modern geology
Sir Charles Lyell's 'Principles of Geology' (1830-1833) was one of the most influential 19th century science books. It argued that the world had not been shaped by catastrophes and supernatural events, but by countless and continuing small changes, like erosion and earthquakes, over vast periods of time.
The 12th edition of 'Principles' appeared shortly after Lyell's death. Each edition had been significantly revised in light of the current scientific research and debate. 'Principles' has influenced many people including Charles Darwin who read it during his round the world voyage on the Beagle. Lyell and Darwin became close friends and Lyell was to play a key role in getting Darwin's 'On the Origin of the Species' published.
All Lyell's other principal works were published by John Murray III, including his last major work 'Geological evidences of the antiquity of man; with remarks on theories of the origin of species by variation' (1863). In this, Lyell supported Darwin's theories, but did not fully endorse them, much to Darwin's disappointment.
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NRA Name: Lyell, Sir Charles (1797-1875), 1st Baronet, geologist.
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