William Smith


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Smith, William,

1769–1839, English geologist. Through direct observation as a canal-site surveyor, Smith made a systematic study of the geological strata of England and identified the fossils peculiar to each layer. He thereby introduced the method of estimating, from the fossils present, the age of geological formations. His large (8 1-2 ft × 6 ft/2.6 m × 1.8 m) and accurate geological map, titled A Delineation of the Strata of England and Wales with Part of Scotland (1815), was one of the first of its kind and was followed by similar maps of English counties. Smith is widely known as the father of English stratigraphic geology and field paleontology.

Bibliography

See S. Winchester, The Map That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology (2001).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Smith, William

 

Born Mar. 23, 1769, in Churchill, Oxfordshire; died Aug. 28, 1839, in Northampton. English geodesist and geologist.

Smith is known for his works on the identification of Meso-zoic sedimentary rocks in southeastern England. These works laid the foundations for historical geology and stratigraphy as independent geological sciences. Smith showed that layers of sedimentary rocks exposed in different regions and not directly related can be correlated by the remains of the fossil organisms they contain. Fossils used for this purpose are known as index fossils. Between 1813 and 1815, Smith compiled the first geological map of England; in the map rocks were divided according to age. His discovery that strata can be identified by means of index fossils paved the way for the development of evolutionary ideas in paleontology.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Smith, William (Loughton)

(1758–1812) U.S. representative, ambassador; born in Charleston, S.C. Orphaned at age 12, he was sent to school in London where he became a lawyer in 1774. Returning in 1783, he became a congressman (Fed., S.C.; 1787–97), speculating in government scrip and supporting the federal bank. Ambassador to Portugal (1797–1801), he returned to his law practice and wrote political letters, "The Numbers of Phocion," for the Charleston Daily Courier.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
References in periodicals archive ?
Michael Daly, great great grandson of the firm's founder, William Smith, and the sixth generation owner, said joining up with Stride paved the way for the next stage in the development of the family business.
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Dean of William Smith College, Banks (education, Hobart and William Smith Colleges) invokes the narratives and perspectives of black undergraduate women about their process of negotiation in higher education, particularly in relation to social and academic success.
The delegation comprised Colin Frederick William Smith, Andre Heinrichs, Ms Gisela and Ms Eva Atanassova.
In the race for the pounds 10,000 monthly prize for July, James Carton, from Bootle,0 and William Smith's Lonepunter entry share the lead on 74 points.
PC William Smith, who will be at the surgery, said: "It is vital we listen to our communities and what they have to say about policing and crime in their area."
KSS Architects, an award winning architectural design firm headquartered in Princeton, NJ, with an office in Philadelphia, is designing a 68,000 s/f addition and renovation to the Scandling College Center at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
One nice thing about trees is that, unlike animals, their tissues keep a detailed record of what conditions were like during their lifetimes, says paleoecologist Nan Arens of Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, N.Y.
Samantha Veeder, formerly the director of Financial Aid at Hobart and William Smith Colleges (N.Y.), is the firm's senior consultant.