John Woodward (naturalist)

John Woodward ( born May 1, 1665 in Derbyshire / England, † April 25, 1728 in London ) was an English natural historian, geologist and physician.


Woodward studied medicine at Cambridge University and received his doctorate there for Dr. med. From 1692 he was professor of natural philosophy at Gresham College, London, from 1709 he ran his own medical practice.


Woodward studied the geology of the British Isles and formulated his own theory about the origin of the earth. After that, the soil should consist of water inside and have a solid crust. She was a ruin, which had left the deluge for him. The Flood he describes as the " ... most horrible and portentous Catastrophe did Nature ever saw: an elegant, orderly and habitable Earth quite unhinged, shattered all to pieces, and turned into at heap of ruins: Convulsions as exorbitatant and unruly: a change so exceeding great and violent, did the very representation alone is enough to startle and shock a Man. " ( Natural History, p 82).

Woodward postulated that the earth had been transformed by God's intervention so that it was adapted to the needs of sinful humanity by the existence on the earth had become so troublesome that man no longer had time for sinful activity.

Woodward was a member of the Royal Society and business in addition to his religiously inspired speculation and tangible research as a physiologist: He experimented with plants germinate in water culture and refuted the nutritional hypothesis van Helmont, when he found out that the plants do not thrive in rain water but in water was mixed with soil, grew well, so that they needed nutrients. He also proved that plants give off sechsundvierzigmal much water during the period of three months, as they can save themselves

Endowed Professorship in Cambridge

1728 built Woodward bequeathed the endowed professorship Woodwardian Professor of Geology, the first chair of the theologian Conyers Middleton 1731-1734 was. The will stipulated that the election of Fellows by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of Ely, president of the Royal Society, President of the Royal Society of Physicians, the deputies of the University of Cambridge, takes place in London Houses of Parliament and the Senate of the University.


  • Essay toward a Natural History of the earth. 1692nd
  • Letter instructions for making observations in all parts of the world. To 1696.
  • Fossils. In: John Harris: Lexicon Chemicum. In 1704.
  • Naturalis historia teluris. 1714.
  • Fossils of All Kinds Digested Into a Method. 1728.
  • An Attempt Towards a Natural History of the Fossils of England. 1729th