The map that changed the world: [William Smith and the birth of modern geology]

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From the author of the bestselling The Professor and the Madman comes the fascinating story of William Smith, the orphaned son of an English country blacksmith, who became obsessed with creating the world's first geological map and ultimately became the father of modern geology.

In 1793 William Smith, a canal digger, made a startling discovery that was to turn the fledgling science of the history of the earth -- and a central plank of established Christian religion -- on its head. He noticed that the rocks he was excavating were arranged in layers; more important, he could see quite clearly that the fossils found in one layer were very different from those found in another. And out of that realization came an epiphany: that by following the fossils, one could trace layers of rocks as they dipped and rose and fell -- clear across England and, indeed, clear across the world. Determined to publish his profoundly important discovery by creating a map that would display the hidden underside of England, he spent twenty years traveling the length and breadth of the kingdom by stagecoach and on foot, studying rock outcrops and fossils, piecing together the image of this unseen universe.

In 1815 he published his epochal and remarkably beautiful hand-painted map, more than eight feet tall and six feet wide. But four years after its triumphant publication, and with his young wife going steadily mad to the point of nymphomania, Smith ended up in debtors' prison, a victim of plagiarism, swindled out of his recognition and his profits. He left London for the north of England and remained homeless for ten long years as he searched for work. It wasn't until 1831, when his employer, a sympathetic nobleman, brought him into contact with the Geological Society of London -- which had earlier denied him a fellowship -- that at last this quiet genius was showered with the honors long overdue him. He was summoned south to receive the society's highest award, and King William IV offered him a lifetime pension.

The Map That Changed the World is, at its foundation, a very human tale of endurance and achievement, of one man's dedication in the face of ruin and homelessness. The world's coal and oil industry, its gold mining, its highway systems, and its railroad routes were all derived entirely from the creation of Smith's first map.; and with a keen eye and thoughtful detail, Simon Winchester unfolds the poignant sacrifice behind this world-changing discovery.

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ISBN:
9780060193614
9781587241536
9780060746070
9780694525218
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Grouping Information

Grouped Work ID 9fe68a89-0d5d-6840-0e04-051f9b0f0baa
Full title map that changed the world william smith and the birth of modern geology
Author winchester simon
Grouping Category book
Last Update 2018-06-22 22:54:27PM
Last Indexed 2018-06-22 23:30:21PM

Solr Details

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author Simon Winchester
author_display Winchester, Simon
available_at_catalog Donelson, Main Kids, Main Library
collection_catalog Audiobook, Biography, Large Print
detailed_location_catalog Donelson - Adult Audiobook, Main Library - Adult Biography, Main Library - Adult Large Print
display_description From the author of the bestselling The Professor and the Madman comes the fascinating story of the father of modern geology.

In 1793, William Smith, the orphan son of a village blacksmith, made a startling discovery that was to turn the science of geology on its head. While surveying the route for a canal near Bath, he noticed that the fossils found in one layer of the rocks he was excavating were very different from those found in another. And out of that realization came an epiphany: that by following these fossils one could trace layers of rocks as they dipped, rose and fell - clear across England and clear across the world.

Obsessed with creating a map that would showcase his discovery, Smith spent the next twenty years traveling England alone, studying rock outcroppings and gathering information. In 1815 he published a hand-painted map more than eight feet tall and six feet wide. But four years later, swindled out of his profits, Smith ended up in debtors' prison. His wife went mad. He lived as a homeless man for ten long years.

Eventually a kindly aristocrat discovered him; Smith, the quiet genius and "father of geology" was brought back to London and showered with the honors that he rightly deserved. Here now is his astounding story.

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literary_form Non Fiction
literary_form_full Non Fiction
local_callnumber_catalog 551 W759m Large Type, B S6635w, CD AUDIO 551.092 W759mU
owning_library_catalog Nashville Public Library
owning_location_catalog Donelson, Main Kids, Main Library
primary_isbn 9780060193614
publishDate 2001
record_details ils:CARL0000167242|Book|Books|1st ed.|English|HarperCollins,|2001.|xix, 329 p. : ill., maps (some col.) ; 22 cm., ils:CARL0000178347|Large Print|Books||English|Wheeler Pub.,|c2001.|xxiii, 439 p. (large print) : ill., maps ; 24 cm., ils:CARL0000235963|CD audio book|Audio Books||English|HarperCollins,|2001.|9 sound discs (10 hrs.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in., overdrive:021d9fbb-e830-426b-b1fb-9eb6938caca7|eAudiobook|Audio Books||English|HarperCollins||
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subject_facet Audiobooks, Geologists -- Great Britain -- Biography, Geology, Stratigraphic -- History, Large type books, Smith, William, -- 1769-1839
title_display The map that changed the world : William Smith and the birth of modern geology
title_full The Map That Changed the World William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology, The map that changed the world : William Smith and the birth of modern geology / by Simon Winchester ; illustrations by Soun Vannithone, The map that changed the world [(text) large print] : William Smith and the birth of modern geology / Simon Winchester, The map that changed the world [sound recording] : [William Smith and the birth of modern geology] / by Simon Winchester ; read by the author
title_short The map that changed the world :
title_sub [William Smith and the birth of modern geology]
topic_facet Audiobooks, Biography & Autobiography, Geologists, Geology, Stratigraphic, History, Large type books, Nonfiction, Smith, William