The Map that Changed the World
"The Map that Changed the World" is a book by
It tells the story of geologist William Smith and his great achievement, the first
geologic mapof Englandand Wales, the first geologic map in the worldFact|date=July 2008. Smith's pivotal insights were that each local sequence of rock strata was a subsequence of a single universal sequence of strata and that these rock strata could be distinguished and traced for great distances by means of imbedded fossilized organisms. Winchester paints a highly evocative image of the intellectual context of the time, the development of Smith's ideas and how they contributed to the theory of evolutionand more generally to a dawning realisation of the true age of the earth.
Winchester doesn't neglect the social, economic or industrial context either. He describes the importance of coal mining and the transport of coal by means of canals, both of which were a stimulus to the study of geology and the means whereby Smith supported his research. Land owners wished to know if coal might be found on their holdings. Canal planning and construction depended on understanding the rock and soil along its route.
Related topics, such as the founding of the
Geological Society of London, are included. Smith's map was published by John Cary, a leading map publisher. Winchester describes the practice of publishing at the time. No less interesting is the description of the system of debtor's prisons, and the account of the sojourn of Smith in the King's Bench Prison. However, the book suffers in style from the overemphasis on this final point: dedicating the opening passages to its discussion and repeatedly reminding the reader of what is to come while discussing happier years.
Book format details
Simon Winchester was born in 1944, and "The Map that Changed the World" was published in 2001 by Harper Collins, while Winchester retains the copyright. This, first edition, is illustrated by Soun Vannithone. It includes an extensive index, glossary of geological terms, recommended reading and (lengthy) acknowledgements, as well as many stippled images (of consistent style). The last numbered page is page 329. There are 16 chapters, and single clay paper sheet in the middle containing colour plates of Smith's famous map and a modern geological map for comparison. (Smith's map is less complete, but essentially in agreement with the modern map). An image of Smith's first table of strata, and first (circular) geological map are also included. Just after the contents section, there is a 5-page section giving extensive details on the illustrations (such as the names of the chapter heading fossils). Each chapter begins with an inset image of a fossil, and a large first Capital. The dust-cover of the book can be removed and unfolded to reveal a larger print of the map in question.
One: Escape on the Northbound Stage
Two: A Land Awakening from Sleep
Three: The Mystery of the Chedworth Bun
Four: The Duke and the Baronet's Widow
Five: A Light in the Underworld
Six: The Slicing of Somerset
Seven: The View from York Minster
Eight: Notes from the Swan
Nine: The Dictator in the Drawing Room
Ten: The Great Map Conceived
Eleven: A Jurasic Interlude
Twelve: The Map That Changed the World
Thirteen: An Ungentlemanly Act
Fourteen: The Sale of the Century
Fifteen: The Wrath of Leviathan
Sixteen: The Lost and Found Man
Seventeen: All Honor to the Doctor.
Escape on a Northbound Stage
A plausible but whimsical description of the day on which William Smith was let out of debtor's prison. It inducts the reader into the interpretation of the time and place to be held consistently throughout the book. Smith is described physically, as heavy-set balding and plain-looking, and emotionally as quiting London in disgust. He is leaving London with nothing other than his wife, nephew, and such possessions as they can carry. It is implied that these circumstances are the result of unjustified discrimination from the scientific elite. The chapter ends with a brief note that 12 years later the injustice was in some measure redressed.
A Land Awakening from Sleep
A description of the social circumstances of the time of the birth of Smith. It begins by emphasising that the date of 4004 bc, for the beginning of the world, computed from the genealogy tables of the bible, was firmly accepted by most; the idea that the world was any older was considered implausible. Explanations based on Noah's flood were acceptable in scientific circles. But, in the year 1769, as Smith was born, James Watt was patenting a steam engine, cloth manufacture was improving, the postal service was viable. New technology and information was rapidly becoming available or even common-place. ``William Smith appeared on the stage at a profoundly interesting moment: He was about to make it more so."
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
The World Factbook — … Wikipedia
The World Is Not Enough — This article is about the 1999 film. For other uses, see The World Is Not Enough (disambiguation). The World Is Not Enough … Wikipedia
The VFL during the World Wars — The Victorian Football League (VFL) was heavily affected by both World War I and World War II. Dozens of players served their country abroad and many lost their lives. On the home front the VFL went ahead during these wars but faced many… … Wikipedia
History of the world — The history of the world [Williams, H. S. (1904). The historians history of the world; a comprehensive narrative of the rise and development of nations as recorded by over two thousand of the great writers of all ages. New York: The Outlook… … Wikipedia
National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center — The National September 11 Memorial Museum at the World Trade Center, formerly the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation, is a 503(c)(3) non profit corporation that began operations in 2005. The foundation’s name was changed in 2007 to better… … Wikipedia
Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? (game show) — Infobox Television bgcolour = #ffbfbf show name = Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? format = Game Show runtime = 30 minutes creator = Brøderbund Software theme music composer = Sean Altman David Yazbek opentheme = Where in the World Is… … Wikipedia
Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? (TV series) — Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? title card for Season 1 Format Game Show Created by Brøderbund Software … Wikipedia
Demographics of the world — This article is about the demographic features of the population of the World, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.… … Wikipedia
Antisemitism around the world — This is a list of countries where antisemitic sentiment has been experienced. This list is organized by country.AfricaAlgeriaAlmost all Jews in Algeria left upon independence in 1962. Algeria s 140,000 Jews had French citizenship since 1870… … Wikipedia
National broadband plans from around the world — Broadband is a term normally considered to be synonymous with a high speed connection to the internet. The term itself is technology neutral; broadband can be delived by a range of technologies including DSL, LTE or next generation access. This… … Wikipedia