Life, Letters and Journals of Sir Charles Lyell, Bart

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Cambridge University Press, Nov 11, 2010 - Science - 506 pages
Sir Charles Lyell (1797-1875) was one of the most renowned geologists of the nineteenth century. He was awarded the Copley Medal by the Royal Society in 1858 and the Wollaston Medal by the Geological Society of London in 1866 for his contributions to geology. Lyell's most important contribution to modern geology was his refining and popularising the geological concept of uniformitarianism, the idea that the earth has been formed through slow-acting geological forces. This biography, first published in 1881 and edited by his sister-in-law K. M. Lyell, provides an intimate view of Lyell's personal and professional life through the inclusion of his correspondence with family, friends and academic peers. His changing ideas concerning the validity of the theory of natural selection and other geological ideas are also examined through the inclusion of extracts from his private journal. Volume 2 contains Lyell's later career from 1837-1875.
 

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Contents

CHAPTER XXI
1
CHAPTER XXII
35
CHAPTER XXIII
60
JANUARY 1844DECEMBER 1846
83
CHAPTEE XXV
120
CHAPTEE XXVI
152
FEBRUARY 1852NOVEMBER 1854
176
CHAPTEE XXVIII
201
CHAPTER XXXIIL
302
FEBRUARY 1859NOVEMBER 1860
318
CHAPTER XXXV
343
MARCH 1863AUGUST 1863
361
CHAPTER XXXVII
381
APRIL 1868
406
Anniversary Meeting at Greenwich ObservatoryMr Dawsons 1 Acadia
423
CHAPTER XL
435

CHAPTER XXIX
208
SEPTEMBEE 1856AUGUST 1857
227
CHAPTER XXX
248
CHAPTER XXXI
263
CHAPTER XXXII
278
APPENDIX
451
A Letter from Captain Basil Hall K N to Leonard Horner Esq on
465
Tributes to Sir Charles Lyell vol ii p 463
477
INDEX
483
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Lyell was born in Kinnordy, Scotland. His father was a naturalist, and Lyell grew up surrounded by books on natural history, geology, and other sciences. He entered Oxford University at the age of 19 after a boarding-school education that was periodically interrupted by poor health. There his interest in geology was heightened. Although he studied law, he gave up legal work to study rocks and fossils. His contribution to geology is twofold. First, he showed that the earth is constantly changing, not by a series of worldwide catastrophes followed by new creations, but by slow, gradual processes. Like James Hutton, he believed and taught that present-day processes were the ones that shaped the past. It was the worldwide publication of Lyell's treatises and texts that led to the general acceptance of the principle of uniformitarianism, first put forth by Hutton. Second, Lyell contributed the principle of faunal succession and the notion of the time sequence of events. These were evidenced from spatial relationships among strata, faults, and intrusions. The data on which Lyell's contributions are based were gathered on numerous field excursions, most notably in southern Europe, the United States, and Canada. During these trips, Lyell collected numerous samples that he and his wife meticulously categorized and labeled. His writings show that he was also interested in, and concerned about, human problems, as well as problems of science. He touches upon social reforms in England and the problems of slavery in the United States. Lyell was a prolific writer, summarizing his thoughts, contributions, and achievements in these major works: "Principles of Geology" (1830, 1831, 1833), "Antiquity of Man," and "Travels in America." His health and strength declined after the death of his wife in 1873, and he died two years later. He was buried in Westminster Abbey.

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