Field of Science

14 November, 1797: Happy Birthday Charles Lyell

"The science of Geology is enormously indebted to Lyell-more so, as I believe, than to any other man who ever lived."
Darwin, C. in his autobiography 1887

Fig.1. "Awful Changes." The caricature by De la Beches of Charles Lyell as Prof. Ichthyosaurus on the pages of Francis Trevelyan Buckland (Son of William B.). "Curiosities of Natural History".

Charles Lyell (1797-1875) was born in Kinnordy, Scotland, from a wealthy family. He inherited his passion for natural sciences from his father, an amateur botanist, and his grandfather, a navigator. Following the traditional path for a 19-year young man of his status, he went to Oxford University to study mathematics, classical literature and law, but he also followed the geological course held by William Buckland, and became interested in geology.
He worked as jurist until 1827, when he decided to dedicate his career to geology, and helped by his fortune, in 1828 and 1830 he begun to travel trough Europe, visiting Paris, the Auvergne, the Pyrenees, Switzerland and the Volcanoes in South-Italy and the Canary Islands.
Between 1830 to 1833 he published his first edition of the three volume work "Principles of Geology".


  1. If you would post this kind of fine-line greyscale image as a GIF, it would be much sharper. JPGs are very blurry and do not do justice to the original.

  2. Thanks for the tip - will try to fix it as soon as possible (and use it in future)


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