John Phillips (geologist)
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John Phillips
FRS FRS may also refer to: Government and politics * Facility Registry System, a centrally managed Environmental Protection Agency database that identifies places of environmental interest in the United States * Family Resources Survey, a survey to c ...
(25 December 1800 – 24 April 1874) was an English
geologist A geologist is a scientist who studies the solid, liquid, and gaseous matter that constitutes Earth and other terrestrial planets, as well as the processes that shape them. Geologists usually study geology, although backgrounds in physics, chem ...

geologist
. In 1841 he published the first global
geologic time scale The geologic time scale (GTS) is a system of chronological dating Chronological dating, or simply dating, is the process of attributing to an object or event a date in the past, allowing such object or event to be located in a previously establi ...

geologic time scale
based on the correlation of fossils in rock strata, thereby helping to standardize terminology including the term
Mesozoic The Mesozoic Era ( ), also called the Age of Reptiles and the Age of Conifers, is the second-to-last era An era is a span of time defined for the purposes of chronology or historiography, as in the regnal eras in the history of a given monarchy ...
, which he invented.


Life and work

Phillips was born at Marden in
Wiltshire Wiltshire (; abbreviated Wilts) is a Ceremonial counties of England, county in South West England with an area of . It is landlocked and borders the counties of Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire. The count ...
. His father belonged to an old
Welsh Welsh may refer to: Related to Wales * Welsh, referring or related to Wales * Welsh language, a Brittonic Celtic language of the Indo-European language family, indigenous to the British Isles, spoken in Wales ** Patagonian Welsh, a dialect of Wels ...

Welsh
family, but settled in England as an officer of excise and married the sister of
William Smith
William Smith
, a renowned English geologist. When both parents died when he was a child, Phillips's custody was assumed by Smith and Phillips was brought into Smith's London home during early 1815. During the next few years he attended various schools and helped his uncle with his geological research and writing; he also developed an interest in lithography (printing from prepared slabs of stone), and was among the earliest English practitioners of the process, experimenting with it between about 1816 and 1819. After ending school, Phillips accompanied Smith on his wanderings in connection with his preparation of geological maps. During the spring of 1824 Smith went to
York York is a cathedral city City status in the United Kingdom is granted by the monarch of the United Kingdom The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy of the United ...

York
to deliver a course of lectures on geology, and his nephew Phillips accompanied him. Phillips accepted engagements in the principal
Yorkshire Yorkshire (; abbreviated Yorks), formally known as the County of York, is a historic county of Northern England Northern England, also known as the North of England or simply the North, is the most northern area of England England ...

Yorkshire
towns to arrange their museums and give courses of lectures on the collections contained therein. York became his residence, and he obtained during 1826 the situation of keeper of the
Yorkshire Museum The Yorkshire Museum is a museum in York, England. It was opened in 1830, and has five permanent collections, covering biology, geology, archaeology, numismatics and astronomy. History The museum was founded by the Yorkshire Philosophical Soci ...

Yorkshire Museum
and secretary of the
Yorkshire Philosophical Society The Yorkshire Philosophical Society (YPS) is a Charitable organization, charitable learned society (charity reg. 529709) which aims to promote the public understanding of the natural sciences, the social sciences, and the archaeology and history ...
at the same time as Henry Robinson was Librarian of the YPS. From that centre Phillips extended his operations to towns beyond the county, and by 1831 he included
University College London University College London, which Trade name, operates as UCL, is a major public university , public research university located in London, United Kingdom. UCL is a Member institutions of the University of London, member institution of the Federa ...
within the sphere of his activity. During that year the
British Association for the Advancement of Science The British Science Association (BSA) is a charity Charity may refer to: Giving * Charitable organization or charity, a non-profit organization whose primary objectives are philanthropy and social well-being of persons * Charity (practice), ...
was initiated at York, and Phillips was one of the people who organized it. He became the first assistant secretary in 1832, a job which he had until 1859. In 1834 he accepted the professorship of geology at
King's College London King's College London (informally King's or KCL) is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization An organization, or ...
, but retained his job at York. In 1834 Phillips was elected a fellow of the
Royal Society The Royal Society, formally The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, is a learned society A learned society (; also known as a learned academy, scholarly society, or academic association) is an organization that exis ...
. During later years he received honorary degrees of LL.D. from
Dublin Dublin (; , or ) is the capital and largest city of Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster-Scots: ) is an island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title="Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain">Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain_ ...

Dublin
and
Cambridge Cambridge ( ) is a university city and the county town In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' ...

Cambridge
, and D.C.L. from
Oxford Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' u ...

Oxford
; while in 1845 he was awarded the
Wollaston Medal The Wollaston Medal is a scientific award for geology, the highest award granted by the Geological Society of London. The medal is named after William Hyde Wollaston, and was first awarded in 1831. It was originally made of gold (1831–1845), th ...
by the
Geological Society of London The Geological Society of London, known commonly as the Geological Society, is a learned society A learned society (; also known as a learned academy, scholarly society, or academic association) is an organization that exists to promote an ...

Geological Society of London
. In 1840 he resigned his charge of the York museum and was appointed to the staff of the geological survey of Great Britain managed by
Henry De la Beche Sir Henry Thomas De la Beche KCB, FRS (10 February 179613 April 1855) was an English geologist and palaeontologist Paleontology, also spelled palaeontology or palæontology (), is the scientific study of life that existed prior to, and som ...
. Phillips spent some time studying the
Palaeozoic The Paleozoic (or Palaeozoic) Era ( ; from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Eu ...
fossil A fossil (from Classical Latin Classical Latin is the form of Latin language Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, inc ...

fossil
s of
Devon Devon (, archaically known as Devonshire) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Ch ...

Devon
, Cornwall and West
Somerset ( en, All The People of Somerset) , locator_map = , coordinates = , region = South West England South West England is one of nine official regions of England The regions, formerly known as the government office regions, are the ...

Somerset
, of which he published a descriptive memoir
in 1841
. During that same year, he published the first global
geologic time scale The geologic time scale (GTS) is a system of chronological dating Chronological dating, or simply dating, is the process of attributing to an object or event a date in the past, allowing such object or event to be located in a previously establi ...

geologic time scale
, which ordered rock strata according to the types of fossils found within. This helped standardize the usage of the terms
Paleozoic The Paleozoic (or Palaeozoic) Era ( ; from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Eu ...
period, which he extended to a longer period than it had had by previous usage, and
Mesozoic The Mesozoic Era ( ), also called the Age of Reptiles and the Age of Conifers, is the second-to-last era An era is a span of time defined for the purposes of chronology or historiography, as in the regnal eras in the history of a given monarchy ...
period, the latter being his own invention. He also made a detailed survey of the region of the
Malvern Hills The Malvern Hills are in the English counties of Worcestershire, Herefordshire and a small area of northern Gloucestershire, dominating the surrounding countryside and the towns and villages of the district of Malvern, Worcestershire, Malvern ...

Malvern Hills
, of which he prepared the elaborate account that appears in vol. ii. of the Memoirs of the Survey (1848). In 1844 he became professor of geology for the
University of Dublin The University of Dublin ( ga, Ollscoil Átha Cliath), corporately designated the Chancellor, Doctors and Masters of the University of Dublin, is a university located in Dublin Dublin (; , or ) is the capital and largest city of Irela ...
. Nine years later, on the death of
Hugh Edwin Strickland Hugh Edwin Strickland (2 March 1811 – 14 September 1853) was an English geologist, ornithology, ornithologist, naturalist and systematist. Through the British Association, he proposed a series of rules for the nomenclature of organisms in zoolo ...
, who had acted as substitute for
Dean Buckland
Dean Buckland
in the readership of geology in the University of Oxford, Phillips succeeded to the post of deputy. At the dean's death in 1856, Phillips became himself reader, a post which he had to the time of his death. During his residence in
Oxford Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' u ...

Oxford
he had a major part in the foundation and arrangement of the
University Museum:''For museums named "university museum" see, University Museum (disambiguation)'' A university museum is a repository of collection Collection or Collections may refer to: * Cash collection, the function of an accounts receivable department * C ...

University Museum
established in 1859 (see his ''Notices of Rocks and Fossils in the University Museum'', 1863; and ''The Oxford Museum'', by H. W. Acland and
J. Ruskin
J. Ruskin
, 1859; reprinted with additions 1893). Phillips was also keeper of the
Ashmolean Museum The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology () on Beaumont Street, Oxford, England, is the world's second university museum (after the establishment of the Kunstmuseum Basel by the University of Basel in 1661) and Britain's first public museum. I ...
from 1854 until 1870. During 1859–1860 he was president of the Geological Society of London, and during 1865 president of the British Association. Phillips also made astronomical observations of the
planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remnant that is massive enough to be Hydrostatic equilibrium, rounded by its own gravity, is not massive enough to cause thermonuclear fusion, and ...

planet
Mars Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in the Solar System, being larger than only Mercury (planet), Mercury. In English, Mars carries the name of the Mars (mythology), Roman god of war and is often referred to ...

Mars
during its 1862
opposition Opposition may refer to: Arts and media * Opposition (Altars EP), ''Opposition'' (Altars EP), 2011 EP by Christian metalcore band Altars * The Opposition (band), a London post-punk band * ''The Opposition with Jordan Klepper'', a late-night tel ...
. On 23 April 1874, he dined at
All Souls College All Souls College (official name: College of the Souls of All the Faithful Departed) is a Colleges of the University of Oxford, constituent college of the University of Oxford in England. Unique to All Souls, all of its members automatically bec ...
, but on leaving he slipped and fell down a flight of stone stairs. He died the next day, and was buried in York Cemetery, beside his sister
Anne Anne, alternatively spelled Ann, is a form of the Latin female given name Anna (name), Anna. This in turn is a representation of the Hebrew Hannah (given name), Hannah, which means 'favour' or 'grace.' Anne is sometimes used as a male name in th ...
and his benefactor
Thomas Gray Thomas Gray (26 December 1716 – 30 July 1771) was an English poet, letter-writer, classical Classical may refer to: European antiquity *Classical antiquity, a period of history from roughly the 7th or 8th century B.C.E. to the 5th century ...

Thomas Gray
. His coffin was accompanied to Oxford's railway station by 200 university academics.
Crater Crater may refer to: Landforms *Impact crater, a depression caused by two celestial bodies impacting each other, such as a meteorite hitting a planet *Explosion crater, a hole formed in the ground produced by an explosion near or below the surfac ...

Crater
s on Mars and the
Moon The Moon is Earth's only natural satellite. At about one-quarter the diameter of Earth (comparable to the width of Australia (continent), Australia), it is the largest natural satellite in the Solar System relative to the size of its plane ...

Moon
are named after him.


Selected writings

The first paper Phillips published was ''On the Direction of the Diluvial Currents in Yorkshire'' (1827). He contributed to the ''
Philosophical Magazine The ''Philosophical Magazine'' is one of the oldest scientific journal In academic publishing Academic publishing is the subfield of publishing which distributes academic research and scholarship. Most academic work is published in a ...
'', the ''
Journal of the Geological Society The ''Journal of the Geological Society '' is a peer review, peer-reviewed scientific journal published by the Geological Society of London. It covers research in all aspects of the Earth sciences. References External links * Proceedings of ...
'', and the ''
Geological Magazine The ''Geological Magazine'' is a Peer review, peer-reviewed scientific journal established in 1864, covering the earth sciences. It publishes original scientific research papers on geology, geological topics. The journal is published bimonthly by ...
''. He was also the author of separate works, including: *''Illustrations of the Geology of Yorkshire'' (in two parts, 1829 and 1836; 2nd ed. of pt. 1 in 1835; 3rd ed., edited by R. Etheridge, in 1875
Part 1

Part 2Full text of the 1829 edition at Archive.org
*''A Treatise on Geology'' (1837–1839)
Vol IVol II
*
Memoirs of William Smith
' (1844);
''The Rivers, Mountains and Sea-Coast of Yorkshire''
(1853); *''Manual of Geology, Practical and Theoretical'
Part IPart II
1855);
''Life on the Earth: its Origin and Succession''
(1860); *''
Vesuvius Mount Vesuvius ( ; it, Vesuvio ; nap, 'O Vesuvio , also or ; la, Vesuvius , also , or ) is a somma A somma volcano (also known as a sommian) is a volcano, volcanic caldera that has been partially filled by a new central volcanic cone ...
'' (1869); *
Geology of Oxford and the Valley of the Thames
' (1871). To these should be added his ''Monograph of British Belemnitidae'' (1865), for the Palaeontographical Society, and his geological map of the
British Isles The British Isles are a group of islands in the North Atlantic off the north-western coast of continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...

British Isles
(1847). His manuscript notebook describing his early experiments with lithography was published by the Printing Historical Society in 2016.


Blue plaque

In February 2016 a blue plaque commemorating John Phillips was erected on the side of St. Mary's Lodge (in
York Museum Gardens The York Museum Gardens are botanic gardens in the centre of York, England, beside the River Ouse, Yorkshire, River Ouse. They cover an area of of the former grounds of St Mary's Abbey, York, St Mary's Abbey, and were created in the 1830s by th ...

York Museum Gardens
), where Phillips lived in the mid-19th Century. The plaque, dedicated by the Yorkshire Philosophical Society,
York Civic Trust York Civic Trust is a membership organisation and a registered charity based in York, UK. Its primary function is to "preserve, protect and advise on the historic fabric of York". It is based in Fairfax House. Foundation York Civic Trust was fou ...
and
York Museums Trust York Museums Trust (YMT) is the charity responsible for operating some key museums and galleries in York, England. The trust was founded in 2002 to run York's museums on behalf of the York#Governance, City of York Council. It has seen an incre ...
reads: "John Phillips FRS, 1800-1874, Geologist. Yorkshire Philosophical Society Officer and first Keeper of the Yorkshire Museum lived here between 1839 and 1853."


References

*
pdf
;Attribution *


External links

*
''Map of the principal features of the geology of Yorkshire''
(1853) - full digital facsimile at
Linda Hall Library The Linda Hall Library is a privately endowed A financial endowment is a legal structure for managing, and in many cases indefinitely perpetuating, a pool of financial Finance is a term for the management, creation, and study of money and i ...

''Geology of Oxford and the valley of the Thames, by John Phillips''
(1871) - full digital facsimile at
Linda Hall Library The Linda Hall Library is a privately endowed A financial endowment is a legal structure for managing, and in many cases indefinitely perpetuating, a pool of financial Finance is a term for the management, creation, and study of money and i ...

''John Phillips's lithographic notebook: reproduced in facsimile from the original at Oxford University Museum of Natural History''
edited by Michael Twyman. Printing Historical Society, 2016. {{DEFAULTSORT:Phillips, John 1800 births 1874 deaths People from Wiltshire 19th-century British astronomers English geologists Fellows of the Royal Society Academics of King's College London Accidental deaths from falls Accidental deaths in England Fellows of the Geological Society of London Wollaston Medal winners English people of Welsh descent People associated with the Ashmolean Museum Members of the Yorkshire Philosophical Society Burials at York Cemetery, York Writers about Yorkshire