1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Phillips, William

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PHILLIPS, WILLIAM (1775-1828), British mineralogist and geologist, son of James Phillips, printer and bookseller in London, was born on the 10th of May 1775. He early became interested in mineralogy and geology, and was one of the founders of the Geological Society of London (1807). His Outlines of Mineralogy and Geology (1815) and Elementary Introduction to the Knowledge of Mineralogy (1816) became standard textbooks. His digest of English geology, A selection of Facts from the Best Authorities, arranged so as to form an Outline of the Geology of England and Wales (1818), formed the foundation of the larger work undertaken by Phillips in conjunction with W. D. Conybeare, of which only the first part was published, entitled Outlines of the Geology of England and Wales (1822). This volume made an era in geology. As a model of careful original observation, of judicious compilation, of succinct description and of luminous arrangement it has been of the utmost service in the development of geology in Britain. In this work Phillips reprinted his admirable description of the chalk cliffs of Dover and other parts of East Kent, published in 1819 in Trans. Geol. Soc. vol. v. Phillips was a member of the Society of Friends. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1827. He died on the 2nd of April 1828.

His brother, Richard Phillips (1778-1851), was distinguished as a chemist, and became F.R.S. in 1822. He was appointed chemist and curator to the Museum of Economic (afterwards Practical) Geology, then situated in Craig's Court (1839). He was the author of papers published in the Annals of Philosophy and Philosophical Magazine. In 1796 the two brothers, together with William Allen and Luke Howard, took part in forming the Askesian Society.