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Le Conte, Joseph

LE CONTE, JOSEPH (1823-1901), American geologist, of Huguenot descent, was born in Liberty county, Georgia, on the 26th of February 1823. He was educated at FrankJin College, Georgia, where he graduated (1841); he afterwards studied medicine and received his degree at the New York College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1845. After practising for three or four years at Macon, Georgia, he entered Harvard, and studied natural history under L. Agassiz. An excursion made with Professors J. Hall and Agassiz to the Helderberg mountains of New York developed a keen interest in geology. After graduating at Harvard, Le Conte in 1851 accompanied Agassiz on an expedition to study the Florida reefs. On his return he became professor of natural science in Oglethorpe University, Georgia; and from 1852 to 1856 professor of natural history and geology in Franklin College. From 1857 to 1869 he was professor of chemistry and geology in South Carolina College, and he was then appointed professor of geology and natural history in the university of California, a post which he held until his death. He published a series of papers on monocular and binocular vision, and also on psychology. His chief contributions, however, related to geology, and in all he wrote he was lucid and philosophical. He described the fissure-eruptions in western America, discoursed on earth-crust movements and their causes and on the great features of the earth's surface. As separate works he published Elements of Geology (1878, sth ed. 1889); Religion and Science (1874); and Evolution: its History, its Evidences, and its Relation to Religious Thought (1888). He was president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1892, and of the Geological Society of America in 1896. He died in the Yosemite Valley, California, on the 6th of June 1901.

See Obituary by J. J. Stevenson, Annals of New York Acad. of Sciences, vol. xiv. (1902), p. 150.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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