Murchison, Sir Roderick Impey, 1792-1871 (1st Baronet | Scottish geologist)
- Existence: 22 February 1792- 22 October 1871
Sir Roderick Impey Murchison ( 1792-1871), developed the modern classification of the Palaeozoic period, through his research emphasising biostratigraphy; the deposition of strata indicated by fossils. In the course of his career he successively defined the Silurian, Devonian and Permian strata, which replaced Greywacke and Coal Measures in the scientific literature.
After serving with the army in the Peninsula War and a period of time pursuing his interest in hunting, the independently wealthy Murchison began attending lectures at the Royal Institution. In 1825 he joined the Geological Society of London. Shortly afterwards he read the society his first paper, on the geology of parts of Sussex, Hampshire and Surrey. In the following five years Murchison made field explorations to Scotland, France, and the Alps with either Adam Sedgwick or Charles Lyell. In 1831 he began a study of the Early Palaeozoic rocks in South Wales. These studies were the basis of his defining work The Silurian System, ( 1839) . Further geological research in south western England and the Rhineland, in collaboration with Adam Sedgwick, defined the Devonian System. Russian field expeditions, in conjunction with French colleagues, became the basis for the definition of the Permian System. These expeditions also resulted in his works The Geology of Russia in Europe, ( 1845) and The Ural Mountains, ( 1845) . Successive editions of his expanded treatise on the Silurian System, Siluria, ( 1854) (5th ed. 1872) were also prepared. Latterly he became interested in encouraging geographical exploration and colonialism.
Murchison was president of the Geological Society of London in both 1831-1832 and 1842-1843 and became long term president of the Royal Geographical Society in 1844. As one of the founders of the British Association he was elected president for 1846. He was knighted in 1846 and also awarded the Russian Order of St. Stanislaus of the 1st Class. Appointments as director general of the Geological Survey of Great Britain, and director of the Government School of Mines and the Museum of Economic Geology, London, followed in 1855. From 1863-1871 he was Patron of the Edinburgh Geological Society during which time he was raised to a Baronet. In 1871 he founded a Chair of Geology and Mineralogy at the University of Edinburgh.
Found in 46 Collections and/or Records:
Scope and Contents The Freedom admission of Sir Roderick Impey Murchison consists of:
- boxed illuminated scroll ( 1869)
Scope and Contents 1 volume giving details of Murchison's early life and family ( 1792-1815), with enclosed notes
Identifier: Coll-74 Gen. 523/1/1
Scope and Contents Letter to Lady Charlotte Murchison from Sir Roderick Impey Murchison, addressed 'Clausthal in the Harz'. He describes the various parts of Germany he has visited, including Bonn, Brunswick, Harzburg and the Harz mountains.
Dates: 20 August 1854
Scope and Contents Letter to Sir Andrew Crombie Ramsay from Alphonse Favre enquiring whether it would be possible for the central public library at Geneva to continue receiving Geological Survey publications, an arrangement first brought into operation the previous December by Sir Henry de la Beche and Sir Roderick Impey Murchison.
Dates: 03 April 1872
Scope and Contents Letter to Sir Archibald Geikie from Henry Walter Bates telling Geikie that has sent him a copy of an address by Sir Henry Rawlinson (not attached) which will give him information concerning Sir Roderick Impey Murchison's connection with the Royal Geographical Society. He gives an additional reference and promises further information will follow.
Dates: 31 October 1874
Scope and Contents Letter to Sir Archibald Geikie from Henry William Bristow thanking him for his gift of a copy of his work Life of Sir Roderick I. Murchison, Bart. : based on his journals and letters with notices of his scientific contemporaries and a sketch of the rise and growth of Palaeozoic geology in Britain, ( 1875) . He hopes that the publication will not reopen the historical controversy between Sir Roderick Impey Murchison and Adam Sedgwick.
Dates: 18 May 1875
Scope and Contents Letter to Sir Archibald Geikie from Jessie Aitken Wilson concerning the ownership of letters which her late brother George Wilson had borrowed as background material for the 'Memoirs of Edward Forbes'. She suggests writing to the owners to let them know that she has transferred them to Sir Archibald Geikie, and writes a detailed action list. She discusses the health of Sir Andrew Crombie Ramsay and her dislike of Emily M Yelverton.
Dates: 24 January 1860
Scope and Contents Letter to Sir Archibald Geikie from John Jeremiah Bigsby asking Geikie to include his Thesaurus Siluricas in the list of recent palaeontology works in his next edition of Life of Sir Roderick I. Murchison, Bart, ( 1875) . He mentions that Sir Roderick Impey Murchison gave him advice for the book, and a listing would help the sales of his forthcoming Thesaurus Devonico-Carboniferous. A list of Scottish towns against...
Dates: 20 April 1879
Scope and Contents Letter to Sir Archibald Geikie from John Jeremiah Bigsby thanking Geikie for the note in which he apologised for accidentally missing Bigsby's Thesaurus Siluricas from his list of recent paleontology works in Life of Sir Roderick I. Murchison, Bart, ( 1875) .
Dates: 27 April 1875
Scope and Contents The letters from Sir Roderick Impey Murchison to Charles Wentworth Dilke and related material consist of:
- letters from Sir Roderick Impey Murchison to Charles Wentworth Dilke
- assorted correspondence
- letters received by Sir Archibald Geikie
- notes and papers