James Keir

James Keir, a Scottish chemist and manufacturer, was born Sep. 29, 1735. Keir was yet another member of that gather-by-night philosophical club, the Lunar Society of Birmingham, which we have mentioned quite a few times in these posts, when celebrating the birthdays...

Scipione Breislak

Scipione Breislak, an Italian geologist, was born Aug. 17, 1748. Breislak began his career in Rome, spent some time in Naples, and finished out in Milan, so he saw a great deal of the varied geology of Italy. He was an early convert to vulcanism – the idea that much...

Nicolas Desmarest

Nicolas Desmarest, a French geologist and cartographer, was born Sep. 16, 1725. When Desmarest began his career, it was thought that basalt formations, such as the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland, were sedimentary deposits. In 1763, Desmarest began mapping the Auvergne...

John Auldjo

John Auldjo, a Canadian/English traveler and sketch artist, was born July 26, 1805. Although raised in Montreal, he attended Trinity College, Cambridge, and never returned home.  He began a Grand Tour in 1827, climbed Mont Blanc, then visited Naples, where he became...

John White Webster

John White Webster, an American geologist and chemist, was born May 20, 1793.  He graduated from Harvard Medical College in 1815, and would return there as professor, but in between, he visited St. Michael (Sao Miguel) Island in the Azores in 1817-18.  There he...