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ROBERT HARKNESS (1816—1878)

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Originally appearing in Volume V12, Page 954 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ROBERT HARKNESS (1816—1878), English geologist, was born at Ormskirk, Lancashire, on the 28th of July 1816. He was educated at the high school, Dumfries, and afterwards (1833—1834) at the university of Edinburgh where he acquired an interest in geology from the teachings of Robert Jameson and J. D. Forbes. Returning to Ormskirk he worked zealously at the local geology, especially on the Coal-measures and New Red Sandstone, his first paper (read before the Manchester Geol. Soc. in 1843) being on The Climate of the Coal Epoch. In 1848 his family went to reside in Dumfries and there he commenced to work on the Silurian rocks of the S.W. of Scotland, and in 1849 he carried his investigations into Cumberland. In these regions during the next few years he added much to our knowledge of the strata and their fossils, especially graptolites, in papers read before the Geological Society of London. He wrote also on the New Red rocks of the north of England and Scotland. In 1853 he was appointed professor of geology in Queen's College, Cork, and in 1856 he was elected F.R.S. During this period he wrote some articles on the geology of parts of Ireland, and exercised much influence as a teacher, but he returned to England during his vacations and devoted himself assiduously to the geology of the Lake district. He was also a constant attendant at the meetings of the British Association. In 1876 the syllabus for the Queen's Colleges in Ireland was altered, and Professor Harkness was required to lecture not only on geology, palaeontology, mineralogy and physical geography, but also on zoology and botany. The strain of the extra work proved too much, he decided to relinquish his post, and had retired but a short time when he died, on the 4th of October 1878. " Memoir," by J. G. Goodchild, in Trans. Cumberland Assoc. No.
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