History

Professor William Crawford Williamson

The Centre is named for Professor William Crawford Williamson FRS, the eminent Victorian scientist who was appointed as the first Professor of Natural History (Geology, Zoology and Botany) at Manchester in 1851. Williamson was one of the great Victorian naturalists who knew and actively corresponded with Charles Darwin, Louis Agassiz, T.H. Huxley and other great scientists of the day. He also knew John Dalton and famously tended the great man during his final days, feeding him broth and other liquid sustenance. Williamson trained as a doctor and practised as an eye surgeon as well as pursuing his studies in the natural sciences. He was instrumental in the development of the study of rocks in thin section and did pioneering work in palaeobotany. Now, more than 150 year after one man bridged the great natural science disciplines, in the Centre named for Williamson we again bring together the geological and biological sciences in interdisciplinary research.

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