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Sedgwick Bicentenary Meeting: Sedgwick 200

Adam Sedgwick was one of the founding fathers of Geology, and 2018 marks 200 years since he was appointed to the Woodwardian Chair of Geology at the University of Cambridge. This Chair, established in 1731 by John Woodward, was the first-ever professorship in Earth Sciences and was endowed in Woodward’s will with the proviso that the holder of the Chair should promulgate Woodward’s own views on the history of the Earth and look after Woodward’s extensive collection of rocks, minerals and fossils. This bequest marked the beginning of geological studies in Cambridge, and 1818 marked the beginning of Sedgwick’s illustrious career as a geologist.

Sedgwick 200 logo

Trinity College logo

We are celebrating this bicentenary with a one-day conference, with an impressive slate of invited speakers who will give us an up-to-date overview of Earth Sciences today and take us forwards into the future. The talks will begin with a brief introduction to Sedgwick and his times, followed by a discussion of how we can predict and mitigate the effects of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. There will be talks on the Anthropocene and the effect we are having on the Earth’s climate,  and an introduction to geology on other planets and the search for extraterrestrial life. We hope you will join us for this exciting programme that is designed to be accessible to a wide audience, from sixth-formers, to alumni and practicing geologists.

The conference will be followed by a dinner hosted at Trinity College, Cambridge.

Date: Saturday 22 September 2018

Location:  Department of Earth Sciences

Ticket prices:    

  • £50 including lunch and refreshments throughout the day ending with a drinks reception in the Sedgwick Museum. There will also be a drinks reception at Trinity College on Friday 21 September.
  • £100 including all of the above plus a three course formal dinner with wine at Trinity College, Cambridge

Book now - Cambridge alumni

Book now - for non-alumni

We have a limited number of discounted tickets for undergraduate & graduate students, on a first come basis. Please do if you would like to check availability.


Conference overview

Friday 21 September

17:30  Drinks Reception, Master's Lodge, Trinity College

Saturday 22 September

09:00  Welcome and introduction 

09:15  Sedgwick’s legacy: Professor Jim Secord, University of Cambridge

10:00  The co-evolution of life and environments: Professor Nick Butterfield, University of Cambridge

10:45  Morning coffee

Restless Earth

11:15  Partly cloudy with a chance of eruption - the future of forecasting volcanic events, large and small: Dr Mike Poland, United States Geological Survey

12:00  Earthquake warnings - a practical approach to an impossible problem: Dr Lucy Jones, California Institute of Technology

12:45  Lunch

The Anthropocene

14:00  Defining the Anthropocene: Professor Mark Maslin, University College London

14:45  Climate change now and in the future: Dame Julia Slingo, Cabot Institute, University of Bristol

15:30  Afternoon tea

Beyond Earth

16:00  If Sedgwick explored Mars - a field geologist's perspective on the search for extraterrestrial life: Dr. Sanjeev Gupta, Imperial College London

16:45  The search for extraterrestrial life: Dr. Seth Shostak, SETI Institute

17:30  Sedgwick Museum Drinks Reception 

19:30  Dinner in Trinity College Old Kitchen


Please do if you have any questions. 

The Sedgwick Bicentenary Meeting has been made possible through the generous support of Trinity College, Cambridge.

Earth Sciences at Cambridge

Saturday 22 September 2018: A one-day conference bringing together international scientists to mark 200 years since Adam Sedgwick was appointed to the Woodwardian Chair of Geology.

Further information