Scriptural Geologist

I want to introduce you to one more of the Scriptural geologists. Andrew Ure was born in Glasgow on May 18, 1778, to Anne and Alexander Ure, a cheese monger. He studied first at the University of Glasgow and later the University of Edinburgh, obtaining his MA in 1798–99 and his MD in Glasgow in 1801. After graduation he served briefly as an army surgeon in northern Scotland before settling in Glasgow, where he became a member of the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons in 1803. The following year he became Professor of Natural Philosophy (specializing in chemistry and physics) at the recently formed Andersonian Institution (now the University of Strathclyde) in Glasgow. In addition to teaching the students of this institution, he also gave extremely popular lectures in chemistry and mechanics for artisans in the city for about twenty years. Attended by as many as 500 people, including up to 50 women, these courses were influential in the public promotion of science and the arts and in the development of similar institutes in Edinburgh, Paris, London and other cities.

Eventually, strained relationships with the management of the Andersonian Institution led to his resignation in 1830. He moved to London and became probably the first consulting chemist in Britain. By 1834, he was regularly called on to do chemical analyses for the Board of Customs. In this capacity he demonstrated his willingness to make financial sacrifices and to risk personal friendships and professional reputation for the sake of scientific truth and the exposure of large-scale criminal activity. As a chemist, he was highly esteemed by contemporary scientists and the great scientist, Michael Faraday, said that not one of Ure’s chemical analyses was ever impugned….

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