Concept

W. Brian Harland

Summary
Walter Brian Harland (22 March 1917 – 1 November 2003) was a British geologist at the Department of Geology, later University of Cambridge Department of Earth Sciences, England, from 1948 to 2003. He was a leading figure in geological exploration and research in Svalbard, organising over 40 Cambridge Spitsbergen Expeditions (CSE) and in 1975 founded the Cambridge Arctic Shelf Programme (CASP) as a research institute to continue this work. He was first secretary of the International Geological Correlation Programme from 1969 until UNESCO could take over in 1972, and was a driving force in setting criteria and standards in stratigraphy and producing 4 editions of the geological time scale in 1964, 1971, 1982 and 1989. He also edited the international Geological Magazine for 30 years. In 1968, he was honoured with the Royal Geographical Society Gold Medal for Arctic exploration and research. Walter Brian Harland was born 22 March 1917 in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, the son of Walter Ernest Harland (1880-1947), auctioneer and estate agent, and his wife, Alice Marian, née Whitfield (1883-1954). He grew up exploring many of the geological features of Yorkshire, and was taught mapping at primary school. As an 11 year old at the Downs School, Colwall, later The Downs Malvern he carried out a field study and geologically mapped the Malvern Hills. When he was thirteen and at Bootham School in York he discovered a near complete skeleton of Steneosaurus Brevior, an 11 foot long crocodile fossilized in the Jurassic rocks of the North Yorkshire coast, which was removed to the Natural History Museum, London. In 1935 he went to Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where he graduated with double first-class honours in natural sciences (geology) in 1938. Brian became a Quaker when he was an undergraduate, starting a lifelong interest in the relationship between religion, philosophy, and science. He married Elisabeth Lewis in 1942 and they had one son and three daughters. Brian Harland died in Cambridge 1 November 2003.
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