Adam Sedgwick

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Sedgwick, Adam,

1785–1873, English geologist. He was a professor at Cambridge from 1818. His most important work was a study, made with R. I. MurchisonMurchison, Sir Roderick Impey
, 1792–1871, British geologist. He served in the Napoleonic Wars but after the peace turned his attention to science. In the 1830s he undertook the investigation of previously undifferentiated rock strata in Wales and England; as a result of
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, of the rock formation of Devonshire, which they named the Devonian system. Sedgwick also introduced the term Cambrian.


See J. W. Clark and T. M. Hughes, The Life and Letters of the Rev. Adam Sedgwick (2 vol., 1890).

Sedgwick, Adam


Born Mar. 22, 1785, in Dent, Yorkshire; died Jan. 27, 1873, in Cambridge. British geologist. Professor at Cambridge University (1818–72).

Sedgwick’s principal works dealt with the Paleozoic deposits of Great Britain, Belgium, and Germany. In 1835 Sedgwick identified the Cambrian system. In 1839, together with R. Murchison, he identified the Devonian system. In 1903 a museum in memory of Sedgwick was opened at Cambridge.


Clark, J. W., and T. M. Hughes. The Life and Letters of the Reverend Adam Sedgwick, vols. 1–2. London, 1890.
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Darwin, trained as a geologist, was a fit young man in his early twenties when he set out with leading Victorian geologist and creationist believer Reverend Adam Sedgwick in 1831.
The week Darwin spent in Wales in 1831 with one of the leading geologists of the day, Adam Sedgwick, before embarking on his voyage around the world in the Beagle, provided him with important grounding in practical geology: "Darwin was no stranger to Wales," said Tom Sharpe, senior curator of geology at the National Museum Wales.