May 22, 2022
James Hutton (Edinburgh, June 3, 1726[nb 1]-Ibid., March 26, 1797) was a Scottish geologist, physician, naturalist, chemist and experimental farmer, the first formulator of the ideas that would lead to the scientific current called uniformitarianism and plutonism, in which he included his theories of geology and geological time and its scale, also called deep time. It is considered the founder of modern geology.[nb 2][nb 3] He shared space and time with great thinkers and scientists forming together with them what has been called the Scottish Enlightenment . Hutton dedicated much of his life to searching in Great Britain, mainly Scotland, for evidence to support his theories on the geological history of the Earth, all from a self-taught background and after having abandoned the profession for which he had studied, medicine. , almost without having exercised. He stood out in other fields for which he also studied, researched and published, such as meteorology, agriculture or chemistry. His theory of the Earth, embodied in two lectures in 1785, later published in 1788, and his three-volume Theory of the Earth (the last of which was not published until more than 100 years after his death) changed significantly the perception of the age of the Earth, the rock cycle and geology in general. His opposition to an Earth age of a few thousand years, based on biblical calculations, gave rise to deep time, or geologic time. He likewise denied the origin of rocks by dissolution, a theory known as Neptunism, and proposed an origin based on heat, known as plutonism. Both terms were key to the birth of modern geology. He directly influenced Lyell who used his theories in his major work, Principles of Geology (1830-1833), enthusiastically read by Darwin on his voyage on the Beagle.