Public talk: James Hutton in Leiden, 1749

Leiden Academy in 1763

Public talk by Bert Schuchmann: James Hutton in Leiden, 1749 – How the future founder of modern geology earned his doctorate in just a few weeks.

Tuesday 6 June 2023, 6pm at St Cecilia’s Hall, 50 Niddry Street, Edinburgh EH1 1LG

James Hutton stayed in Leiden, the Netherlands, for a few weeks in August and September 1749; a minimum of 29 days, and probably longer. This has been confirmed from original documents. Was it common to graduate in such a short period of time? How long did he really stay? Where did he live? The original house is gone. What did it look like and what happened to it? Who else lived there at the time? Where did Hutton go to during his sojourn in Leiden? Who did he meet? Finally, did Leiden have any influence on Hutton? These questions were raised and are tentatively answered.

Free event, booking required: book here

Book: James Hutton Stay in Leiden (1749)

In celebration of their 90th anniversary, the Leiden Geological Society are publishing an 86-page book in English, detailing their recent research into James Hutton’s stay in Leiden in 1749. This shows that in the 18th century there was lively diploma-tourism by numerous foreign students attracted by the fame of Leiden University. The author Bert Schuchmann also attempts to find a possible influence of the Leiden-ethos on Hutton’s subsequent intellectual development.

The book will be available to buy at the public talk on 6 June. We can also distribute it by post after the event, but it must be pre-ordered here.