John Jeremiah Bigsby - Encyclopedia

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JOHN JEREMIAH BIGSBY (1792-1881), English geologist and physician, the son of Dr John Bigsby, was born at Nottingham on the 14th of August 1792. Educated at Edinburgh, where he took the degree of M.D., he joined the army medical service and was stationed at the Cape of Good Hope in 1817. About a year later he went to Canada as medical officer to a regiment, and having developed much interest in geology he was commissioned in 1819 to report on the geology of Upper Canada. In 1822 he was appointed British secretary and medical officer to the Boundary Commission, and for several years he made extensive and important geological researches, contributing papers to the American Journal of Science and other scientific journals; and later embodying an account of his travels in a book entitled The Shoe and Canoe (1850). Returning to England in 1827 he practised medicine at Newark until 1846 when he removed to London, where he remained until the end of his life. He now took an active interest in the Geological Society of London, of which he had been elected a fellow in 1823. In 1869 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society, and in 1874 he was awarded the Murchison medal by the council of the Geological Society. During the last twenty years of his long life he was continually at work preparing, after the most painstaking research, tabulated lists of the fossils of the Palaeozoic rocks. His Thesaurus Siluricus was published with the aid of the Royal Society in 1868; and the Thesaurus Devonico-Carboniferus in 1878. In 1877 he founded the Bigsby medal to be awarded by the Geological Society of London, with the stipulation that the receiver should not be more than forty-five years old. He died in London on the 10th of February 1881.

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