Little Bits of History

Taking Marbles; Leaving

Posted in History by patriciahysell on April 16, 2012

Abraham Gottlob Werner

April 16, 1858: The Wernerian Natural History Society ceases to exist. The Scottish society was named for Abraham Gottlob Werner and was a spin off from the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Werner was a German geologist who died in 1817. His belief system, called Neptunism, has now been discredited. It stated all rocks were formed by the crystallization of minerals in the oceans of the newly formed Earth. The overall theory has been disproven although the formation of sedimentary rock is similar to the proposals of Neptunism.

Robert Jameson, Regius Professor of Natural History at the University of Edinburgh founded the Wernerian Society in 1808. He had studied under Werner at a mining academy in Frieberg, Saxony in 1800. After Jameson returned to Scotland, he wished to form a society of learned men to further natural history and scientific studies. The first meeting took place on March 2, 1808 although the society itself was founded on January 12 of that same year.

The elite group of nine scientists and laymen was headed by Jameson, but also included a botanist and anatomist as well as other scientifically interested men. There were two Presidents listed, one from the Royal Society and one from the Royal Irish Academy. Werner was an honorary member as well.

Between 1811 and 1839, the Society published eight volumes of memoirs with Jameson contributing over a dozen papers on geologic or mineralogical topics as well as more on the subjects of botany and zoology. After 1839 proceedings were published in the Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal rather than their own private publication. Jameson died in 1854 and without his leadership and interest, the society waned. The Society opted to shut down and sold off their assets on this date.

According to the common law of nature, deficiency of power is supplied by duration of time. – Robert Jameson

During my second year at Edinburgh [1826-27] I attended Jameson’s lectures on Geology and Zoology, but they were incredibly dull. The sole effect they produced on me was the determination never as long as I lived to read a book on Geology. – Charles Darwin

We learn geology the morning after the earthquake. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have a Bachelor of Science degree in geology from the City College of New York, and my great contribution to the field of geology is that I never entered it upon graduation. – Colin Powell

Also on this day:

Little Sure Shot – In 1922, a little old lady performs a remarkable marksmanship feat.
Goya Sunk – In 1945, the Russians sunk the German refugee ship.
High Flyer – In 1912. Harriet Quimby became the first woman to fly across the English Channel.

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One Response

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  1. Bobby Dias said, on April 16, 2012 at 11:23 am

    This society did a great amount of research that is used to this day, only the conclusions of origin was flawed and dismissed as false- even the ramblings of the society can provoke good ideas.


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