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Biographies posted so far 
1. Smith (see below)
2, Simpson (link supported by L�o F. Laporte)

William "Strata" Smith (1769-1838)


"... Fossil Shells had long been known amongst the curious, collected with care, and preserved in their cabinets, along with other rarities of nature, without any apparent use. That to which I have applied them is new, and my attention was the first drawn to them by a previous discovery of regularity in the direction and dip of the various Strata in the hills around Bath; for it was the nice distinction which those similar rocks required, which led me to the discovery of organic remains peculiar to each Stratum. ..."

A brief survey of his work in the Bath, Somerset, (UK) District. by Ron Pickford F.G.S. (March 1969 Revised ed. 1977)
In 1799, Smith dictated to Joseph Townsend a Geological Table of 23 strata, numbered from the top down.

Smith's geological map of England (and Wales and part of Scotland) published in 1815
Southern England portion of the map  is maintained on the web by Andrew MacRae email:

click to see enlarged   A Surveyor unveils the geology of England.

The geology of southern England was painstakingly unravelled by an educated and self-taught surveyor, William Smith (1769-1839). A farmer's son, he walked the width of Britain in search of geological data, and produced his results in the form of brilliantly constructed maps in which different strata were carefully coloured. His final work was 'A Delineation of the Strata of England and Wales with part of Scotland" (1815), and these exciting maps proved a great stimulus to the science of geology.

—Brian J. Ford, 1992. Images of Science: A History of Scientific Illustration. The British Library: London, 208pp. ISBN 0-7123-0267-0

Soon after the first issue of his in 1815 geological map of England (compare), William Smith published Strata Identified by Organized Fossils. Cecil J. Schneer has put a facsimile edition of this publication. In this is a map of 34 geological of strata (descriptions and map colors).. A transcript of the Title, Introduction, and first two pages of the Strata description is given here.

Smith's Deductions from established Facts of Geology, 1835, published in The Literary Gazette, No.969 (15 August 1835), page 522. (Typed in the format of the original by H. Rance.)

Geotimes Searching for The Map


Some addittional links to William Smith: (Picture of Smith and a thumbnail map) (VIII. The Literature of Science, entry) (Three good quotes)

"The Map That Changed The World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology" by Simon Winchester,: 2001. 338 pp.

Reviewed  in Nature 412:12 July 2001, p. 120,
by Douglas Palmer who informs that Winchester admits that "this short book should be thought of simply as the hors d'oeuvre". The chef for the main dish he is referring to is Hugh Torrens, a historian of geology who, according to Winchester, is also writing a biography of Smith.

Reviewed in The New York Times:
Sedimental Journeys by Malcolm C. McKenna, August 5, 2001
Imprisoned Geologist Whose Map Took Hold by Janet Maslin, August 6, 2001

Reviewed  in Geotimes, vol 46, no 12, December 2001 by Peter-Noel Webb

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