Underground Britain: The story of what's under our feet, and why it matters
Professor Iain Stewart
Wills Memorial Building, Queen's Road, Clifton, Bristol BS8 1RJ
Iain Stewart is an Earth scientist with research expertise in geohazards, recent geological change and long-standing interests in promoting geoscience to the public. Much of Iain's geocommunication activities centre on his documentary television work with BBC Science. Major TV series include Earth: The Power of the Planet; Earth: The Climate Wars; How Earth Made Us, How To Grow A Planet; Volcano Live; and Rise of the Continents.
In this William Smith Bicentenary Lecture, Iain tells us the story of underground Britain - what's under our feet, and why it matters.
This event is free and open to all but you must register here. This event will run from 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
This event is part of the William Smith Bicentenary Lecture Series.
William Smith was a farmer's son. Born in 1769 his life was beset by troubles: he was imprisoned for debt, turned out of his home, his work was plagiarised, his wife went insane and the scientific establishment shunned him. In 1815 William Smith published the first edition of his Geological Map of England and Wales. Smith’s map made a seminal contribution to the understanding of the ground beneath our feet and by showing the location of coal, iron ore, clays and other raw materials quite literally fuelled the industrial revolution. By using fossils Smith was able to establish a relative chronology which allowed him to identify strata of the same age and to show where they occur at the surface. It was not until 1829, when a Yorkshire aristocrat recognised his genius, that he was returned to London in triumph.
In his centenary history of the Geological Society, Horace B Woodward, (1908) describes the map as “a work of genius planned and executed single handed” and it would be remiss if the bicentenary of its publication passed unnoticed. This lecture is part of a year-long programme of events celebrating this milestone.