James Croll – from Janitor to Genius

An online whole-day meeting co-sponsored by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society and the Quaternary Research Association, celebrating the bicentenary of the birth of James Croll (1821-1890), a self-taught, stonemason’s son from Perthshire who became internationally celebrated as a proponent and developer of the astronomical theory of climate change with its implications for glaciation, oceanography and much else. Using a mixture of talks and videos, the meeting will explore Croll as a person and as a scientist, with specialists drawn from the worlds of science, history and popularisation.

The Zoom-based meeting may be accessed, free of charge, via the following link: rsgs.org/Event/james-croll-from-janitor-to-genius 


Session 1:

10.00-10.15 Kevin J. Edwards (Aberdeen/Cambridge): Introduction.

10.15-10.45 Mike Robinson (RSGS): James Croll, a video introduction.

10.45-11.00 Kevin J. Edwards (Aberdeen/Cambridge): James Croll and 1876 – an exceptional year for a ‘singularly modest man’.

11.0-11.15 Laura Brassington (Cambridge): Croll’s navigation of scientific societies.

11.15-11.30 Break

11.30-11.45 Diarmid A. Finnegan (Belfast): Science, metaphysics and Calvinism: the God of James Croll.

11.45-12.00 Malcolm Longair (Cambridge): James Croll, celestial mechanics and climate change.

12.00-12.15 “James Croll” (Edinburgh): On the thickness of the Antarctic ice, and its relations to that of the glacial epoch.

12.15-12.45 Question & Answer

12.45-14.00 Lunch break

Session 2:

14.00-14.15 James R. Fleming (Maine): Cosmic connections: James Croll’s influence on his contemporaries and his successors.

14.15-14.30 Chronis Tzedakis (London): James Croll and geological archives: testing astronomical theories of ice ages.

14.30-14.45 Alastair Dawson (Dundee): The oceanographic contribution of James Croll.

14.45-15.00 James Rose (London): Lyell, the Geikies, and Croll’s observations on terrestrial
glacial sediments and landforms.

15.00-15.15 Break

15.15-15.30 Roy Thompson (Edinburgh): Croll, feedback mechanisms and the future.

15.30-15.45 Jo Woolf (RSGS): Popularising Croll: an opportunity for expression and creativity.

15.45-16.30 Question & Answer

16.30-16.40 Mike Robinson (RSGS): Video – Croll, place and landscapes.