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Adam Sedgwick

Adam Sedgwick (March 22nd, 1785-1873) was one of the founders of modern geology. He proposed the Devonian period of the geological timescale and later the Cambrian period. The latter proposal was based on work which he did on Welsh rock strata.

Sedgwick was born in Dent, Yorkshire, the third child of an Anglican vicar. He was educated at Sedbergh School and Trinity College, Cambridge.

Charles Darwin was one of his geological students and the two kept up a correspondence while Darwin was aboard the Beagle. However Sedgwick never accepted the case for evolution made in the Origin of Species. At one point he wrote to Darwin saying

If I did not think you a good tempered and truth-loving man I should not tell you that ... I have read your book with more pain than pleasure. Parts of it I admired greatly; parts I laughed at till my sides were almost sore; other parts I read with absolute sorrow; because I think them utterly false and grievously mischievous. You have deserted -- after a start in that tram-road of all solid physical truth -- the true method of induction ...

However despite this difference of opinion, the two men remained friendly until Sedgwick's death.

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