Geologists, Paleontologists and Geographers
Here’s our alphabetical list of the most popular geologists/paleontologists/geographers, or scientists who made significant contribution to these fields, on the Famous Scientists website.
The iridium layer, dinosaur death by meteorite impact, and subatomic particle discoveries.
An ancient scientific revolution: the first person in history to recognize that our planet is free in space and does not need to sit on something; produced one of the first ever maps of the world.
Ancient animals, fossils, and paleontology: discovered the first complete specimen of a plesiosaur; deduced the diets of dinosaurs.
Father of paleontology; species extinction; master of comparative anatomy – established that a fossil he named pterodactyl was a flying reptile; promoted the theory of catastrophism; argued species were fixed and did not evolve.
Accurately calculated Earth’s size 2,500 years ago; founded the science of geography; and devised the famous prime number sieve.
The theory of punctuated equilibrium, which proposes that evolution consists of long periods of stability broken by shorter periods of rapid change. An award-winning author and popularizer of science.
Popularizer of science: discovered that dinosaurs cared for their young and some nested in colonies. Working on reactivating dormant dinosaur DNA to hatch a modern-day dinosaur.
Founded modern geology. Found our planet is very much older than previously believed, devising the principle of uniformitarianism, which says that our world was shaped by natural processes such as erosion and deposition. Stated the theory of evolution by natural selection before Darwin was born.
Analyzed earthquake waves to discover that within our planet’s liquid core, at the earth’s center, there is a solid core whose diameter is greater than 1,000 km.
The first astrogeologist and a founder of planetary impact science; proved large craters on Earth were caused by collisions with asteroids and comets, rather than volcanic activity; proposed microscopic life could travel between planets on rocks blasted into space by asteroid impacts.
Discovered deuterium; showed how isotope ratios in rocks reveal past Earth climates; founded modern planetary science; the Miller-Urey experiment demonstrated that electrically sparking simple gases produces amino acids – the building blocks of life.
Discovered continental drift, proposing that our planet once consisted of ocean surrounding a single great continent he called Pangea that had split apart over many millions of years to form the continents we see today.