one day at a time…
Monday, 28 June 2004

Father Of British Geology's Map
CREDIT: © University of New Hampshire/UNH: William 'Strata' Smith on the Web
WHERE: United Kingdom. WHAT: first ever countrywide geological map.
Thumbnail click pops-up map sections index page, linking to large images.

William Smith's Great Map © University of New HampshireYesterday we looked at portraits of nineteenth century earth scientists in London, England. Today we look at the life and work of one of them, William Smith. The thumbnail shows what has become known as his Great Map, fifteen separately printed sheets joined together to make a 6x9 feet whole, covering all of England, Wales, and Scotland as far north as the Firth of Tay.

We have selected some resources for further information: the UNH [University of New Hampshire] web site William 'Strata' Smith on the Web offers facsimiles of Smith's three major works; UCMP [University of California, Berkeley, Museum of Paleontology] offers The Geologic Time Scale in Historical Perspective (including a short bio of Smith) as part of a much larger resource; the Ethical Atheist and Strange Science web sites offer succinct pages for those who prefer summary material; in Smith's homeland the BGS [British Geological Survey] offers a mini web, a PDF magazine article, and sells facsimiles of Smith's map in their PDF format catalog; the GS [The Geological Society] in London offers tours of an original map.

Those who want a fuller treatment will be interested to read The Map That Changed the World by Simon Winchester. Popular history always runs the risk of lacking academic rigor, though Winchester seems to have managed to write a successful book without ruffling too many feathers. We think it is useful to try and get a balanced view, so we include links to two book reviews: Dr. Ben Waggoner [PDF format] is a biogeographer and paleoecologist with UCA [University of Central Arkansas]; Beverly Eschberger is a chemist in her professional life, but a paleoartisan and writer on paleontology by inclination. We found both these reviews helpful to give perspective to our own enjoyment of Winchester reading his work as an audio book.

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Jules Laforgue (1860-1887)
"Ah! que la vie est quotidienne."
Oh, what a day-to-day business life is.
'Complainte sur certains ennuis' (1885)