Studies in the Earth Sciences in the Age of Reform
Author: M. J. S. Rudwick
The studies in this second volume by Martin Rudwick focus on the figures of Charles Lyell and Charles Darwin. Lyell rose to be of pivotal importance because he challenged other geologists throughout Europe by probing their methods and conclusions to the limit. His younger friend Charles Darwin first made his name as a Lyellian geologist; Darwin's early work in geology, studied here, provided important foundations for his later and more famous research.
"Pleasure of imagination.... I a geologist have illdefined notion of land covered with ocean, former animals, slow force cracking surface &c truly poetical."--from Charles Darwin's Notebook M, 1838 The early nineteenth century was a golden age for the study of geology. New discoveries in the field were greeted with the same enthusiasm reserved today for advances in the biomedical sciences. In her long-awaited account of Charles Darwin's intellectual development, Sandra Herbert focuses on his geological training, research, and thought, asking both how geology influenced Darwin and how Darwin influenced the science. Elegantly written, extensively illustrated, and informed by the author's prodigious research in Darwin's papers and in the nineteenth-century history of earth sciences, Charles Darwin, Geologist provides a fresh perspective on the life and accomplishments of this exemplary thinker. As Herbert reveals, Darwin's great ambition as a young scientist--one he only partially realized--was to create a "simple" geology based on movements of the earth's crust. (Only one part of his scheme has survived in close to the form in which he imagined it: a theory explaining the structure and distribution of coral reefs.) Darwin collected geological specimens and took extensive notes on geology during all of his travels. His grand adventure as a geologist took place during the circumnavigation of the earth by H.M.S. Beagle (1831-1836)--the same voyage that informed his magnum opus, On the Origin of Species. Upon his return to England it was his geological findings that first excited scientific and public opinion. Geologists, including Darwin's former teachers, proved a receptive audience, the British government sponsored publication of his research, and the general public welcomed his discoveries about the earth's crust. Because of ill health, Darwin's years as a geological traveler ended much too soon: his last major geological fieldwork took place in Wales when he was only thirty-three. However, the experience had been transformative: the methods and hypotheses of Victorian-era geology, Herbert suggests, profoundly shaped Darwin's mind and his scientific methods as he worked toward a full-blown understanding of evolution and natural selection.
One of the key works in the nineteenth-century battle between science and Scripture, Charles Lyell's Principles of Geology (1830-33) sought to explain the geological state of the modern Earth by considering the long-term effects of observable natural phenomena. Written with clarity and a dazzling intellectual passion, it is both a seminal work of modern geology and a compelling precursor to Darwinism, exploring the evidence for radical changes in climate and geography across the ages and speculating on the progressive development of life. A profound influence on Darwin, Principles of Geology also captured the imagination of contemporaries such as Melville, Emerson, Tennyson and George Eliot, transforming science with its depiction of the powerful forces that shape the natural world.
Release on 1992-01-01 | by Charles Lyell,M. J. S. Rudwick
Author: Charles Lyell,M. J. S. Rudwick
Pubpsher: University of Chicago Press
As important to modern world views as any work of Darwin, Marx, or Freud, Lyell's Principles of Geology has never before been available in paperback. In this third and final volume, Charles Lyell (1797-1875) devotes much attention to the "syntax of geology," that is, to a way of reconstructing the geological past on the basis of the "grammar" of the present processes he has described in the earlier volumes. He defines four periods of the Tertiary—Newer Pliocene, Older Pliocene, Miocene, and Eocene—and argues that the deposits dating from each period demonstrate the uniformity of processes and environments throughout the Tertiary, and indeed in earlier periods of earth history. Martin J. S. Rudwick has compiled a bibliography giving full references for the sources Lyell cites in all three volumes of the Principles.
"Over the last half billion years, there have been five major mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on Earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around the cataclysm is us. In this book the author tells us why and how human beings have altered life on the planet in a way no species has before. She provides a moving account of the disappearances of various species occurring all around us and traces the evolution of extinction as concept, from its first articulation by Georges Cuvier in revolutionary Paris up to Lyell and Darwin, and through the present day. The sixth extinction is likely to be mankind's most lasting legacy, compelling us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human". -- Back cover.
The Encylopaedia of Molecular Biology is a truly unique work of reference. 6000 definitions cover the entire spectrum of molecular life science The complete one-volume guide to understanding the way molecular biology is transforming medicine and agriculture Long and short entries written by over 300 of the world's finest researchers For rapid research or detailed study ... this is the A to Z of the New Biology
It's impossible to overstate the significance of this classic of scientific literature. A necessary companion to Darwin's The Origin of Species, it springs from the ingenious mind of one of his closest friends, geologist Charles Lyell, whose theories were a critical influence on Darwin's landmark work.First published in 1863, this exploration of the implications of Darwin's "natural selection" for humans remains one of the clearest, most concise explanations of a foundational branch of modern biology. Eminently insightful, the books sings with a scientific poeticism -- chapter sections have such titles as: . "Works of Art in Danish Peat-Mosses." "Curiosity awakened by the systematic Exploration of the Brixham Cave." "Two Species of Elephant and Hippopotamus coexisting with Man in France." "Extinct Mammalia in the Valley of the Oise"Readers in the sciences are sure to find this essential book a highly engaging one as well.Scottish geologist and natural philosopher SIR CHARLES LYELL (1797-1875) was one of the foremost popularizers of science of his time, and the fundamental scientific concepts he developed continue to shape geology and evolutionary biology today. He also wrote the multivolume Principles of Geology: An Attempt to Explain the Former Changes of the Earth's Surface by Reference to Causes Now in Operation. Craters on Mars and the Moon are named in his honor.
The Effect of Geological Discoveries on English Society and Literature Between 1829 and 1859
Author: J. M. I. Klaver
This book casts new light on the intellectual and theological reactions to geological discoveries in early nineteenth-century England, showing how accepted views of the creation were transformed and how the works of philosophers, poets and novelists reflected this transformation.
INTRODUCTION. When on board H.M.S. 'Beagle,' as naturalist, I was much struck with certain facts in the distribution of the inhabitants of South America, and in the geological relations of the present to the past inhabitants of that continent. These facts seemed to me to throw some light on the origin of species—that mystery of mysteries, as it has been called by one of our greatest philosophers. On my return home, it occurred to me, in 1837, that something might perhaps be made out on this question by patiently accumulating and reflecting on all sorts of facts which could possibly have any bearing on it. After five years' work I allowed myself to speculate on the subject, and drew up some short notes; these I enlarged in 1844 into a sketch of the conclusions, which then seemed to me probable: from that period to the present day I have steadily pursued the same object. I hope that I may be excused for entering on these personal details, as I give them to show that I have not been hasty in coming to a decision. My work is now nearly finished; but as it will take me two or three more years to complete it, and as my health is far from strong, I have been urged to publish this Abstract. I have more especially been induced to do this, as Mr. Wallace, who is now studying the natural history of the Malay archipelago, has arrived at almost exactly the same general conclusions that I have on the origin of species. Last year he sent to me a memoir on this subject, with a request that I would forward it to Sir Charles Lyell, who sent it to the Linnean Society, and it is published in the third volume of the Journal of that Society. Sir C. Lyell and Dr. Hooker, who both knew of my work—the latter having read my sketch of 1844—honoured me by thinking it advisable to publish, with Mr. Wallace's excellent memoir, some brief extracts from my manuscripts. I much regret that want of space prevents my having the satisfaction of acknowledging the generous assistance which I have received from very many naturalists, some of them personally unknown to me. I cannot, however, let this opportunity pass without expressing my deep obligations to Dr. Hooker, who for the last fifteen years has aided me in every possible way by his large stores of knowledge and his excellent judgment. In considering the Origin of Species, it is quite conceivable that a naturalist, reflecting on the mutual affinities of organic beings, on their embryological relations, their geographical distribution, geological succession, and other such facts, might come to the conclusion that each species had not been independently created, but had descended, like varieties, from other species. Nevertheless, such a conclusion, even if well founded, would be unsatisfactory, until it could be shown how the innumerable species inhabiting this world have been modified, so as to acquire that perfection of structure and coadaptation which most justly excites our admiration. Naturalists continually refer to external conditions, such as climate, food, etc., as the only possible cause of variation. In one very limited sense, as we shall hereafter see, this may be true; but it is preposterous to attribute to mere external conditions, the structure, for instance, of the woodpecker, with its feet, tail, beak, and tongue, so admirably adapted to catch insects under the bark of trees. In the case of the misseltoe, which draws its nourishment from certain trees, which has seeds that must be transported by certain birds, and which has flowers with separate sexes absolutely requiring the agency of certain insects to bring pollen from one flower to the other, it is equally preposterous to account for the structure of this parasite, with its relations to several distinct organic beings, by the effects of external conditions, or of habit, or of the volition of the plant itself. The author of the 'Vestiges of Creation' would, I presume, say that, after a certain unknown number of generations, some bird had given birth to a woodpecker, and some plant to the misseltoe, and that these had been produced perfect as we now see them; but this assumption seems to me to be no explanation, for it leaves the case of the coadaptations of organic beings to each other and to their physical conditions of life, untouched and unexplained.