Charles Lyell

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Date of Birth November 14, 1797
Place of Birth Scotland
Date of Death feb 22, 1875 (77)
Horoscope Scorpio

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Charles Lyell

Sir Charles Lyell, 1st Baronet, was a Scottish geologist who demonstrated the power of known natural causes in explaining Earth's history. He is best known as the author of Principles of Geology, which presented to a wide public audience the idea that Earth was shaped by the same natural processes still in operation today, operating at similar intensities. The philosopher William Whewell termed this gradualistic view "uniformitarianism" and contrasted it with catastrophism, which had been championed by Georges Cuvier and was better accepted in Europe. The combination of evidence and eloquence in Principles convinced a wide range of readers of the significance of "deep time" for understanding the Earth and environment. Lyell's scientific contributions included a pioneering explanation of climate change, in which shifting boundaries between oceans and continents could be used to explain long-term variations in temperature and rainfall.

Born: November 14, 1797, Kinnordy House, Angus, Scotland
Died: February 22, 1875, Harley Street, London, England
Citizenship: United Kingdom
Nationality: Scottish
Fields: Geology
Institutions: King's College London
Alma mater: Exeter College, Oxford
Known for: Uniformitarianism
Influences: James Hutton, John Playfair, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, William Buckland
Influenced: Charles Darwin, Alfred Russel Wallace, Thomas Henry Huxley, Roderick Impey Murchison, Joseph Dalton Hooker
Notable awards: Royal Medal (1834), Copley Medal (1858), Wollaston Medal (1866)
Spouse: Mary Horner Lyell

About Charles Lyell

British geologist and author of Principles of Geology, which popularized the concept of uniformitarianism. He was one of the first scientists to postulate that the earth is older than 200 million years, which was the commonly accepted notion during the 19th century.

Before Fame

His passion for geology coincided with his deteriorating vision.


Charles Darwin was one of his closest friends but he continued to reject the concept of evolution in each of the first nine editions of the Principles.

Family Life

He had nine younger siblings.


Another famous geologist like Lyell was James Parkinson.

Information related to Charles Lyell

  • Presidents of the Geological Society of London
  • 19th-century British scientists
  • 19th-century geologists
  • Scottish deists
  • Scottish travel writers
  • Scottish geologists
  • Members of the Athenaeum Club, London
  • Wollaston Medal winners
  • Scottish knights
  • Recipients of the Copley Medal
  • Burials at Westminster Abbey
  • Royal Medal winners
  • Recipients of the Pour le Mérite (civil class)
  • Alumni of Exeter College, Oxford
  • Academics of King's College London
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Latest information about Charles Lyell updated on March 05, 2021.

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