1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Sorby, Henry Clifton

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SORBY, HENRY CLIFTON (1826–1908), English microscopist and geologist, was born at Woodbourne near Sheffield on the 10th of May 1826. He early developed an interest in natural science, and one of his first papers related to the excavation of valleys in Yorkshire. He subsequently dealt with the physical geography of former geological periods, with the wave-structure in certain stratified rocks, and the origin of slaty cleavage. He took up the study of rocks and minerals under the microscope, and published an important memoir On the Microscopical Structure of Crystals in 1858 (Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc.). In England he was one of the pioneers in petrography; he was awarded the Wollaston medal by the Geological Society of London in 1869, and when president of the society he published in his addresses the results of original researches on the structure and origin of limestones, and of the non-calcareous stratified rocks (1879-1880). He had previously been president of the Royal Microscopical Society. He wrote on the construction and use of the micto-spectroscope in the study of animal and vegetable colouring matter, and in later essays he dealt with such varied subjects as the microscopical structure of iron and steel, and the temperature of the water in estuaries. He also applied his skill in making preparations of invertebrate animals for lantern-slides. In 1882 he was elected president of Firth College, Sheffield. He died on the 9th of March 1908.