James Hutton, a physician-farmer and one of the founders of the science of geology, wrote in 1788, “The result, therefore, of our present inquiry is, that we find no vestige of a beginning, — no prospect of an end.” Although this may now sound like an overstatement, it nicely expresses the tremendous intellectual leap required when geologic time was finally and forever severed from the artificial limits imposed by the length of the human lifetime.By the mid- to late 1800s, geologists, physicists, and chemists were searching for ways to quantify the age of the Earth.Using fossils as guides, they began to piece together a crude history of Earth, but it was an imperfect history.After all, the ever-changing Earth rarely left a complete geological record.giving an age for the Solar System and an upper limit for the age of Earth.
He is presently employed in the Space & Atmospheric Sciences Group at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Wiens has a Ph D in Physics, with a minor in Geology.
His Ph D thesis was on isotope ratios in meteorites, including surface exposure dating.
Before then, the Bible had provided the only estimate for the age of the world: about 6,000 years, with Genesis as the history book.
Hutton's theories were short on evidence at first, but by 1830 most scientists concurred that Noah's ark was more allegory than reality as they documented geological layering.