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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index S > William Johnson Sollas Quotes

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William Johnson Sollas
(30 May 1849 - 20 Oct 1936)

English geologist and anthropologist who invented the diffusion column.


Science Quotes by William Johnson Sollas (4 quotes)

If catastrophic geology had at times pushed Nature to almost indecent extremes of haste, uniformitarian geology, on the other hand, had erred in the opposite direction, and pictured Nature when she was “young and wantoned in her prime”, as moving with the lame sedateness of advanced middle age. It became necessary, therefore, as Dr. Haughton expresses it, “to hurry up the phenomena”.
— William Johnson Sollas
From British Association Address to Workingmen, 'Geology and Deluges', published in Nature (1984), 50, 505-510. Also printed in Popular Science Monthly (Dec 1894), 46 251. “Wontoned” (sic) was likely used for “wanton.” and Dr. Samuel Haughton was an Irish scientific writer —Webmaster.
Science quotes on:  |  Age (499)  |  Age Of The Earth (12)  |  Catastrophe (31)  |  Catastrophic (9)  |  Direction (175)  |  Err (4)  |  Extreme (75)  |  Geology (220)  |  Haste (6)  |  Hurry (15)  |  Lame (3)  |  Middle Age (18)  |  Nature (1928)  |  Necessary (363)  |  Opposite (104)  |  Other (2236)  |  Phenomenon (319)  |  Push (63)  |  Time (1877)  |  Uniformitarianism (8)  |  Wanton (2)  |  Young (228)

In every branch of Natural Science progress is now so rapid that few accepted conclusions can be regarded as more than provisional; and this is especially true of prehistoric Archaeology.
— William Johnson Sollas
In Ancient Hunters and Their Modern Representatives (1911), Preface, viii.
Science quotes on:  |  Accept (192)  |  Archaeology (49)  |  Branch (150)  |  Conclusion (255)  |  More (2559)  |  Natural (796)  |  Natural Science (128)  |  Prehistoric (10)  |  Progress (468)  |  Provisional (7)  |  Rapid (33)  |  Regard (304)  |  Science (3880)

In the days when geology was young, now some two hundred years ago, it found a careful foster-mother in theology, who watched over its early growth with anxious solicitude, and stored its receptive mind with the most beautiful stories, which the young science never tired of transforming into curious fancies of its own, which it usually styled “theories of the earth.”
— William Johnson Sollas
In British Association Address to Workingmen, 'Geology and Deluges', published in Nature (1984), 50, 505-510. Also printed in Popular Science Monthly (Dec 1894), 46 245.
Science quotes on:  |  Beautiful (259)  |  Curious (91)  |  Early (186)  |  Earth (998)  |  Foster (12)  |  Geology (220)  |  Growth (188)  |  Hundred (228)  |  Mind (1339)  |  Most (1729)  |  Mother (114)  |  Never (1087)  |  Origin Of The Earth (2)  |  Receptive (5)  |  Science (3880)  |  Science And Religion (310)  |  Story (118)  |  Theology (53)  |  Theory (972)  |  Two (937)  |  Usually (176)  |  Watch (109)  |  Year (932)  |  Young (228)

The age of the earth was thus increased from a mere score of millions [of years] to a thousand millions and more, and the geologist who had before been bankrupt in time now found himself suddenly transformed into a capitalist with more millions in the bank than he knew how to dispose of … More cautious people, like myself, too cautious, perhaps, are anxious first of all to make sure that the new [radioactive] clock is not as much too fast as Lord Kelvin’s was too slow.
— William Johnson Sollas
1921 British Association for the Advancement of Science symposium on 'The Age of the Earth'. In Nature (1921), 108, 282.
Science quotes on:  |  Age (499)  |  Age Of The Earth (12)  |  All (4107)  |  Anxiety (30)  |  Bank (30)  |  Bankrupt (3)  |  Capitalist (6)  |  Caution (24)  |  Clock (47)  |  Earth (998)  |  Fast (45)  |  First (1284)  |  Geologist (75)  |  Himself (461)  |  Increase (211)  |  Baron William Thomson Kelvin (71)  |  Lord (93)  |  More (2559)  |  Myself (212)  |  New (1217)  |  People (1005)  |  Radioactive (22)  |  Radioactivity (30)  |  Slow (101)  |  Suddenly (88)  |  Thousand (331)  |  Time (1877)  |  Transform (73)  |  Transformation (69)  |  Year (932)


See also:
  • 30 May - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Sollas's birth.
  • Geologies and Deluges - by William Sollas in Popular Science Monthly (1894).

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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