Robert Jameson - Encyclopedia

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ROBERT JAMESON (1774-1854), Scottish naturalist and mineralogist, was born at Leith on the 11 th of July 1774. He became assistant to a surgeon in his native town; but, having studied natural history under Dr John Walker in 1792 and 1793, he felt that his true province lay in that science. He went in 1800 to Freiberg to study for nearly two years under Werner, and spent two more in continental travel. In 1804 he succeeded Dr Walker as regius professor of natural history in Edinburgh university, and became perhaps the first eminent exponent in Great Britain of the Wernerian geological system; but when he found that theory untenable, he frankly announced his conversion to the views of Hutton. As a teacher, Jameson was remarkable for his power of imparting enthusiasm to his students, and from his class-room there radiated an influence which gave a marked impetus to the study of geology in Britain. His energy also, by means of government aid, private donation and personal outlay, amassed a great part of the splendid collection which now occupies the natural history department of the Royal Scottish Museum in Edinburgh. In 1819 Jameson, with Sir David Brewster, started the Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, which after the tenth volume remained under his sole conduct till his death, which took place in Edinburgh on the 19th of April 1854. His bust now stands in the hall of the Edinburgh University library.

Jameson was the author of Outline of the Mineralogy of the Shetland Islands and of the Island of Arran (1798), incorporated with Mineralogy of the Scottish Isles (1800); Mineralogical Description of Scotland, vol. i. pt. 1. (Dumfries, 1805); this was to have been the first of a series embracing all Scotland; System of Mineralogy (3 vols., 1804 1808; 3rd ed., 1820); Elements of Geognosy (1809); Mineralogical Travels through the Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland Islands (2 vols., 1813); and Manual of Mineralogy (1821); besides a number of occasional papers, of which a list will be found in the Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal for July 1854, along with a portrait and biographical sketch of the author.

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