Charles Lyell


Also found in: Medical, Wikipedia.

Lyell, Charles

 

Born Nov. 14, 1797, in Kinnordy, Scotland; died Feb. 22, 1875, in London. British naturalist.

Lyell studied ancient languages, law, and geology at Oxford. In 1827 he abandoned the practice of law and devoted himself entirely to geology. His chief work, The Principles of Geology, came out in 1830–33 (in three volumes, republished many times) and was a milestone in the history of natural science. In this work Lyell countered the then prevailing theory of catastrophism with a theory of slow, continuous change in the earth’s surface owing to the action of constant geological factors that are still operating today (atmospheric precipitation, flowing water, volcanic eruptions, and the like). Although Lyell’s evolutionary theory (actualism) was a major step toward a materialist understanding of nature, it had weaknesses, namely, that Lyell considered the forces acting on the earth to be constant in quality and intensity and did not see changes in them with time and the development of the earth associated with these changes (uniformitarianism).

After a study of Tertiary strata in Italy, Lyell proposed dividing the Tertiary system into three groups (Eocene, Miocene, and Pliocene) on the basis of paleontological evidence. In his book The Geological Evidence of the Antiquity of Man (1863; Russian translation, 1864), Lyell presented arguments in defense of C. Darwin’s evolutionary theory of the origin of species. During visits to the Canary Islands and Sicily he collected data on the age of lavas and the formation of volcanic cones. A study of Etna enabled Lyell to refute the theory of craters of elevation advanced by the German geologist L. Buch and the Frenchman L. Elie de Beaumont. Lyell offered a hypothesis on the nature of metamorphic processes and suggested a division of rocks into sedimentary, volcanic, plutonic, and metamorphic.

Lyell was a member of the Linnean and Geological societies (1819), becoming president of the latter in 1835, and a fellow of the Royal Society (1826). A medal named in honor of Lyell is awarded each year by the Geological Society of London for outstanding work in geology.

WORKS

In Russian translation:
Osnovnye nachala geologii ili noveishie izmeneniia Zemli i ee obitatelei, vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1866.
Rukovodstvo k geologii, ili drevnie izmeneniia Zemli i ee obitatelei po svidetel’stvu geologicheskikh pamiatnikov, vols. 1–2. St. Petersburg, 1866–78.

REFERENCES

Engels, F. “Dialektika prirody.” In K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed. vol. 20.
Ravikovich, A. I. Razvitie osnovnykh teoreticheskikh napravlenii ν geologii XIX veka. Moscow, 1969. (Trudy Geologicheskogo in-ta AN SSSR, no. 189.)
Bailey, E. Charles Lyell. London, 1962. (British Men of Science.)
References in periodicals archive ?
The bluff had been visited by many geologists, including Charles Lyell, a British geologist who was in America to deliver the prestigious Lowell lectures and to explore America's geology.
Al primero de estos articulos se refiere Charles Lyell, el precursor de la biogeografia, en su correspondencia de 1867:
The Englishman studied in Edinburgh and his On the Origin of Species was influenced by Scottish-born geologist Charles Lyell
Yet within that succession, there was little change, it is pointed out, by comparison with works by Charles Darwin and Charles Lyell.
The mountain and its glacier are named for famed nineteenth-century geologist Charles Lyell, friend and colleague of Charles Darwin, who, ironically, was resistant to the idea of "ice ages" when it was first introduced in the 1830s.
The key players in Tennyson's thinking here are the geologist Charles Lyell and the prominent polymath and philosopher of science William Whewell.
13), and continues through a dinner party with Charles Darwin, Charles Lyell, and Robert Brown to wind up with his own travels on the Sargasso Sea.
Darwin was to pass the essay on to geologist Charles Lyell, but a conspiracy theory emerged in the 1970s that Darwin lied about the date of receipt and kept the essay for two weeks in order to revise his own ideas.
Hull reviews the history of the philosophy of biology, concentrating on Aristotle, thinkers in nineteenth-century Britain such as John Herschel, William Whewell, Charles Lyell, and John Stuart Mill, and the influence of Darwin on philosophers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, before turning to the rise of the philosophy of biology as a separate discipline, starting in the last third of the twentieth century.
1858: Charles Darwin's theory of evolution and natural selection was made public at a meeting of the Linnean Society in London by Sir Charles Lyell and Sir Joseph Hooker.
El uniformismo de James Hutton y Charles Lyell en geologia, historicamente se ha considerado una nocion confusa y poco creible cientificamente.
One scientist, geologist Charles Lyell, was an early mentor to Darwin.