Celebrating two hundred years of the Smith Map

Presented by ANU College of Science

This year marks the bicentenary of the publication of the 'Map of the Strata of England and Wales' by William Smith, an original copy of which is hanging in the foyer of the Research School of Earth Sciences. This map (on a scale of 1 inch to 5 miles) was the first of its kind in the world and relied on many innovations championed by William Smith. His visionary achievements clearly influenced geological mapping, first in Europe and later on elsewhere, including the British colonies, such as Australia.

The map is one of the treasures that ANU possesses. It was purchased 50 years ago by Professor David Brown, the founding Professor of the Department of Geology in the Faculty of Science and was frequently used for teaching purposes.The map received much publicity through the publication of the book "The map that changed the world" by renowned author Simon Winchester. Simon was delighted to see our map on a recent visit to Australia.

In this lecture I will detail the life of William Smith, a man who received little education, and who achieved so much despite many difficulties (some financial) and against the views of the establishment at the time, viz. the Geological Society of London founded in 1807, but which eventually came to recognize his formidable achievements by awarding him the first Wollaston Medal in 1831.

There will be an oppportunity to see the map as well as British fossils used by William Smith.

Speaker:  Emeritus Professor Patrick De Deckker AM FAA

Patrick De Deckker has worked at ANU for over 30 years, principally using the remains of microscopic organisms aiming at unravelling environmental changes and past climates. He examined records from large salt lakes and Australia's surrounding oceans. More recently, he investigated the nature of dust storms and their impact on the environment.

After the lecture, view the map & fossils at Jaeger 8 RSES starting at 6.30pm. Light refreshments available.