William Buckland

Resources at U.Minn. libraries:

  • Buckland, Reliquae Diluvianae
  • Buckland,
  • William Buckland & Reliquae Diluvianae

    Our course icon is taken from William Buckland's landmark 1819 study of fossil assemblages in caves. Buckland was the first professor of geology. His new position reflected both the recent professionalization of scientists as well as the emergence of geology as a distinct discipline, each epitomizing the institutional growth of science. In his innaugural lecture Buckland profiled the role of the young science in demonstrating God's hand in nature. He subsequently studied the bones buried in sediment in several caves in England. Reasoning that these were once hyena dens, he concluded that he had found relics of Noah's flood. Buckland's work soon received the Copley Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the Royal Society. The image of torches bringing light and discovery to a dark cave is an apt metaphor for science in the current public eye. Indeed, science has grown more important in culture even as the average person becomes increasingly unable to understand its findings. [ Return to HSci 1815 ]

     hyena jaws, fossil & modern