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Monday, October 03, 2011

Mary Anning and the Spaceman

Trawling through the on-line material available for Henry de la Beche, Mary Anning's life-long friend, I came across the following entry:

Henry T. De la Beche (1796 1855) began his geological career within an elite circle (Geological Society of London, 1817; FRS, 1819), collaborating with influential gentlemen geologists and publishing original research. When his independent income dwindled, De la Beche managed to secure governmental funding for his mapping projects. This led to recognition of the Geological Ordnance Survey (1835) with De la Beche as director. However, De la Beche’s most influential role emerged from his unique position of successfully bridging the privileged circle of gentlemen geologists and the working class of emerging professionals. Henry De la Beche advocated education and knowledge of the Earth for all social classes. He used his government influence to lobby for the establishment of facilities and organizations dedicated to geology’s growing professionalization and popularization. The Museum of Practical Geology, School of Mines, and Mining Records Office were founded largely through his efforts, and each included educational components. De la Beche believed that geological instruction should transcend social boundaries, and thus he was an early advocate for the instruction of lower classes. Henry De la Beche can be acknowledged as an early champion of geological literacy for the general population. 
What is fascinating, is that this is from  The Smithsonian/NASA Astrophysics Data System, a strange place for such an earth-bound subject. 

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