Percy George Hamnall Boswell
He developed an early interest in geology while at school in Ipswich through fossil collecting and visiting local museums. As a teen he founded the Ipswich and District Field Club, which led to his election to as a fellow of the Geological Society of London in 1907. However, possibly as a result of his explorations, he developed choroiditis in both his eyes at 18 and nearly went blind; he never fully regained sight in his right eye.
After earning his Bachelor of Science at London University, Boswell continued at Imperial College London, studying at the Royal College of Science and the Royal School of Mines under William Whitehead Watts. He joined the Royal College in 1914 as a demonstrator in geology but left three years later to become the first George Herdman chair of Geology at Liverpool University.
Boswell was invested as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 1918 Birthday Honours for his work during the Great War, as Geological Adviser to the Ministry of Munitions. During the war, he investigated British supplies of moulding sands for use in metal foundries and ultimately became "a recognized authority as a sedimentary petrologist."
His work as a geologist covered many aspects, but according to his obituary in The Times, his best contributions were possibly concerning recent geology of East Anglia, "where he was a pioneer in making sense of the stratigraphy of the area with its record of alternate advances and retreats of ice."
He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in May 1931 and was president of the Geological Society of London from 1940 to 1941. In 1934, he visited Africa to validate Louis Leakey's claim that he had found fossil remains of Homo sapiens more than 100,000 years old and publicly disagreed with Leakey's conclusions.
- Williams, David. "Boswell, Percy George Hamnall (1886–1960)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
- "Prof. P. G. H. Boswell". The Times. The Times Digital Archive. 23 December 1960. p. 10.
- The London Gazette: . 7 June 1918.
- "Library and Archive Catalogue". Royal Society. Retrieved 18 December 2010.