Lectures are open to all and there is no charge for admission. However regular attendees are expected to be members of the society.

7:45pm for 8:00pm

Sorby Room, Wager Building, (formerly Geoscience),
The University of Reading,
Whiteknights, Reading.
Use Car Park 8


Monday 3 September 2018

Extra-ordinary Women Geologists: from Mary Anning to now

Dr Chris Duffin, Natural History Museum

The Geological Society of London was officially founded on 13 November 1807, however it was not until 21 May 1919, that the first female Fellow was elected. As in common with many of the other learned bodies, women were excluded from membership and attendance at the Society’s lectures during the 19th century as they were believed to lack the intellectual rigour to engage in scientific study. Yet this is not to say that women did not participate in this burgeoning new science. The biostratigrapher and palaeontologist Etheldred Benett (1775-1845), who is recognised as being the first female geologist in Britain, frequently donated specimens to the Society as well as corresponding with the leading geologists of the day. The discoveries made by Mary Anning, the fossil hunter and self taught palaeontologist, were regularly referenced in the papers read at the Society’s scientific meetings. Additionally the wives and daughters of Fellows were also engaged in the science, whether it be through their skills as illustrators or the knowledge gained from collecting their own geological cabinets.

Recently retired from school teaching, Chris Duffin was formerly Senior Master, Director of Sixth Form, Head of Biology and Head of Critical Thinking at Streatham and Clapham High School in south London. Following a Geology degree, he obtained an M.Sc. and then a Ph.D. in Vertebrate Palaeontology at University College London, and more recently a Ph.D. in the History of Medicine from Kingston University. He has published extensively (over 200 papers) on a wide range of fossil groups, but is particularly concerned with sharks and their allies. He co-authored the Handbook of Paleoichthyology Volume 3D . Chondrichthyes. Paleozoic Elasmobranchii : Teeth (2010, Friedrich Pfeil Verlag). The history of Geology is a recent interest and has borne fruit in Special Publication 375 of the Geological Society – “A History of Geology and Medicine” (Duffin, Moody & Gardner-Thorpe 2013), with a second volume just published (2017), and two further volumes on Amber in the history of Medicine (2016, 2017). Chris received the Palaeontological Association’s Mary Anning Award for outstanding contributions to palaeontology in 2011. He is currently a Scientific Associate in the Earth Science Department at The Natural History Museum.

Programme 2018

The programme for 2018 as currently proposed is also available as a pdf document.

Other programmes

Previous years programmes and other programme information can be found on the About us page.