Charles Lyell – Geologist

From Today in Science History

Sir Charles Lyell: born 14 Nov 1797; died 22 Feb 1875.
(Baronet) Scottish geologist largely responsible for the general acceptance of the view that all features of the Earth’s surface are produced by physical, chemical, and biological processes through long periods of geological time. The concept was called uniformitarianism (initially set forth by James Hutton).

And finally, a letter written by Charles Darwin, after the death of Lyell:

C. Darwin to Miss Buckley (now Mrs. Fisher).

Down, February 23, 1875.  

MY DEAR Miss BUCKLEY, — I am grieved to hear of the
death of my old and kind friend, though I knew that it could
not be long delayed, and that it was a happy thing that his
life should not have been prolonged, as I suppose that his
mind would inevitably have suffered. I am glad that Lady 

Lyell has been saved this terrible blow. His death makes
me think of the time when I first saw him, and how full of
sympathy and interest he was about what I could tell him of
coral reefs and South America. I think that this sympathy
with the work of every other naturalist was one of the finest
features of his character. How completely he revolutionised
Geology : for I can remember something of pre-Lyellian
I never forget that almost everything which I have done
in science I owe to the study of his great works. Well, he
has had a grand and happy career, and no one ever worked
with a truer zeal in a noble cause. It seems strange to me
that I shall never again sit with him and Lady Lyell at their
breakfast. I am very much obliged to you for having so
kindly written to me.
Pray give our kindest remembrances to Miss Lyell, and I
hope that she has not suffered much in health, from fatigue
and anxiety.
Believe me, my dear Miss Buckley,

Yours very sincerely,
Charles Darwin.


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