Ferdinand Zirkel

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Ferdinand Zirkel
Seffner Zirkel Bonn.jpg
Bronze medallion by Carl Seffner at the Alter Friedhof, Bonn
Born May 20, 1838
Died June 11, 1912
Nationality German
Fields geology
Institutions University of Leipzig
Alma mater University of Bonn
Influences Henry Clifton Sorby

Ferdinand Zirkel (May 20, 1838 – June 11, 1912) was a German geologist and petrographer.


He was born in Bonn. He was educated in his native town, and graduated Ph.D. at the University of Bonn in 1861. His training and initial interest was in mining. In 1860, he traveled to Iceland with William Thierry Preyer, and in 1862 they published Reise nach Island im Sommer 1860.

After graduation, Zirkel was engaged in teaching geology and mineralogy in Vienna at the Geological Institution. His journey to Iceland, along with travels to the Faeroe Islands, Scotland and England, and a meeting with Henry Clifton Sorby, led him from mining to the study of microscopical petrography, then a comparatively new science.

He became professor of geology in 1863 in the University of Lemberg, in 1868 at the University of Kiel, and in 1870 was made professor of mineralogy and geology in the University of Leipzig. He traveled for study in France, Italy, and Scotland; came to the United States in 1874 to examine the great collections of minerals made during the exploration of the fortieth degree of latitude; and in 1894-95 pursued scientific investigations in Ceylon and India.

He retired in 1909. He was an honorary D.Sc. of Oxford University, and also a foreign member of the Royal Society and an honorary member of the Mineralogical Society.


His numerous papers and essays include Geologische Skizze van der Westküste Schottlands (1871); Die Struktur der Variolite (1875); Microscopical Petrography (in Report of U.S. Geol. Exploration of 40th Par., vol. vi., 1876); Limurit aus der Vallée de Lesponne (1879); Über den Zirkon (1880). His separate works include Lehrbuch der Petrographie (1866; 2nd ed. 1893, 1894); Die mikroskopische Beschaffenheit der Mineralien und Gesteine (1873); and Über Urausscheidungen rheinischer Basalte (1893).





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