James Hutton

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James Hutton MD (Edinburgh, 3 June 1726 OS (14 June 1726 NS)  – 26 March 1797) was a Scottish geologist, physician, naturalist, chemist and experimental farmer. He is considered the father of modern geology.[1][2] His theories of geology and geologic time,[3] also called deep time,[4] came to be included in theories which were called plutonism and uniformitarianism.

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Early life and career

James Hutton was born in Edinburgh on 3 June 1726 OS as one of five children of a merchant who was Edinburgh City Treasurer, but who died when James was still young. Hutton's mother - Sarah Balfour - had him educated at the High School of Edinburgh where he was particularly interested in mathematics and chemistry, then when he was 14 he attended the University of Edinburgh as a "student of humanity" i.e. Classics (Latin and Greek). He was apprenticed to a lawyer when he was 17, but took more interest in chemical experiments than legal work and at the age of 18 became a physician's assistant as well as attending lectures in medicine at the University of Edinburgh. After three years he studied the subject in Paris (University of Paris), then in 1749 took the degree of Doctor of Medicine at Leyden with a thesis on blood circulation.[5] Around 1747 he had a son by a Miss Edington, and though he gave his child James Smeaton Hutton financial assistance, he had little to do with the boy who went on to become a post-office clerk in London.[6]

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