Record

Authorised form of nameSorby; Henry Clifton (1826 - 1908)
SurnameSorby
ForenamesHenry Clifton
Dates1826 - 1908
NationalityBritish
Dates and placesBirth:
Woodbourne, Atterckiffe near Sheffield, Yorkshire, England (10 May 1826)
Death:
Sheffield (09 March 1908)
Buried:
Eccleshall churchyard, his gravestone two British granites on a sandstone plinth
ActivityResearch Field:
Microscopy
Eduction:
Sheffield Collegiate School until age 15, then at home with a private tutor
Career:
Built himself a private laboratory following his father's death in 1847 at his home, Broomfield, Beech Hill Road, Broomhill, and pioneered microscopical petrography (shaving rock sample to 1000th of an inch, shine light through it and look at patterns under high magnification under normal and polarised light) . Interested in minute fluid cavities in mineral crystals, and how these could show ways in wwhich rocks themselves had been formed. This led to studies of meteorites and metoric iron and then to microscopical examination of modern iron and steel; led to field of study in 1863 called Microscopic Metallurgy. Invented a spectrum microscope and new branch of study of Microspectroscopy, detecting minute traces of blood. Bought yacht (1878) equipped as a floating laboratory for various topics but especially for marine biology, and developing his own techniques for mounting specimens onto lantern slides. Examined water samples in Thames Estuary in connection with the Royal Commission on the Drainage of London. Active in development of higher education in Sheffield with Mark Firth, became President of Firth College in 1882 after Firth's death, and worked to establish a University in Sheffield, which was eventually founded in 1905. Sorby left a bequest to the University to endow a professorship in geology, and a fellowship to promote original research.
Medals and Awards:
Woollaston Medal of the Geological Society (1869); Gold Medal of the Dutch Society of Sciences (1872); honorary Doctor of Laws at Cambridge University; President of Royal Microscopical Society; Mineralogical Society; Geological Society; the geological branch of the British Association; first president of the Yorkshire Naturalists Union (a federation of natural history societies within the county);
Memberships:
FGS;
Royal Society activityMembership:
Fellow
Election Date:
11/06/1857
Medals/Prizes:
Royal Medal 1874
Lectures:
Bakerian 1863 for his work 'on the Direct Correlation of mechanical and Chemical Forces'
Bequest 1909 of £15,000 for the purpose of establishing a Professorship or Fellowship for original research in connection with the University of Sheffield
Published worksBakerian lecture published in 'Proceedings of the Royal Society', vol 12, 1863
General contextElected FRS at age 31
SourcesSources:
Bulloch's Roll; DNB; DSB; many lantern slides at Sheffield City Museum;
Obituaries:
Proc Roy Soc Series B 1908 vol 80 pp lvi-lxvi signed by A G
H C Sorby 'Fifty years of scientific research. An address before the members of the Sheffield Literary and Philosophical Society, at Firth college, on Tuesday February 2nd, 1897 by the President, H C Sorby LL.D, FRCS etc', in Annual Report of the Sheffield Literary and Philosophical Society, 1898
R G J Edyvean, 'Henry Clifton sorby (1826-1908): studies in marine biology - the algal lantern slides.' in 'Archives of Natural History' 1988, Vol 15 pat 1, pp35-44
Web site:
http:www.sorby.org.uk/hcsorby.shtml
Virtual International Authority Filehttp://viaf.org/viaf/27849444
Royal Society codeNA715
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
EC/1857/13Sorby, Henry Clifton: certificate of election to the Royal Society
IM/Maull/004322Sorby, Henry Cliftonnd
NLB/6/447Copy letter from Herbert Rix, to Henry Clifton Sorby, Yacht 'Glimpse', Brightlingsea, near Colchester13 May 1892
NLB/3/470Copy letter from Herbert Rix, to Dr [Henry Clifton] Sorby, Fellow of the Royal Society, Yacht "Glimpse", Walton-on-Naze17 June 1889
NLB/4/1011Copy letter from Herbert Rix, to Henry Clifton Sorby, Fellow of the Royal Society20 December 1890
NLB/3/1064Copy letter from Herbert Rix, to Mr [Henry Clifton] Sorby, [Fellow of the Royal Society]3 January 1889
NLB/5/146Copy letter from Herbert Rix, to Henry Clifton Sorby, Fellow of the Royal Society2 April 1891
NLB/5/187Copy letter from Herbert Rix, to Henry Clifton Sorby, Fellow of the Royal Society10 April 1891
NLB/9/449Copy letter from Theodore E James, to Messrs Harrison & Sons19 May 1894
NLB/8/210Copy letter from Herbert Rix, to Henry Clifton Sorby, Fellow of the Royal Society, Yacht "Glimpse", Orford, Wickham Market28 July 1893
NLB/8/242Copy letter from Theodore E James, to Henry Clifton Sorby, Fellow of the Royal Society10 August 1893
NLB/10/540Copy letter from Herbert Rix, to Henry Clifton Sorby14 December 1894
NLB/10/539Copy letter from Herbert Rix, to Messrs Clay & Sons, Ave Maria Lane, E.C.14 December 1894
NLB/10/695Copy letter from Herbert Rix, to Henry Clifton Sorby, Fellow of the Royal Society22 January 1895
NLB/12/352Copy letter from Herbert Rix, to Dr Henry Clifton Sorby, Fellow of the Royal Society4 February 1896
NLB/14/51Copy letter from Robert William Frederick Harrison, to Dr Henry Clifton Sorby, Fellow of the Royal Society18 December 1896
NLB/16/722Copy letter from Robert William Frederick Harrison, to Dr H C Sorby, Fellow of the Royal Society, Yacht "Glimpse", Brightlingsea, Colchester25 May 1898
NLB/16/701Copy letter from Robert William Frederick Harrison, to Dr H C Sorby, Fellow of the Royal Society, Yacht "Glimpse", Rowhedge, Nr. Colchester21 May 1898
NLB/18/232Copy letter from Robert William Frederick Harrison, to Dr H C Sorby, Fellow of the Royal Society9 February 1899
NLB/20/157Copy letter from Robert William Frederick Harrison, to Dr Henry Clifton Sorby, Fellow of the Royal Society16 February 1900
NLB/18/647Copy letter from Robert William Frederick Harrison, to Dr H C Sorby, Fellow of the Royal Society, Broomfield, Sheffield15 April 1999
NLB/22/85Copy letter from [Theodore E] James, to Dr [Henry Clifton] Sorby, Fellow of the Royal Society, Broomfield, Sheffield28 February 1901
NLB/21/676Copy letter from Robert William Frederick Harrison, to Dr Henry Clifton Sorby, Fellow of the Royal Society8 January 1901
NLB/21/776Copy letter from Robert William Frederick Harrison, to Dr Henry Clifton Sorby, Fellow of the Royal Society28 January 1901
NLB/31/514Copy letter from Robert William Frederick Harrison, to Dr Henry Clifton Sorby, Fellow of the Royal Society4 October 1905
NLB/28/138Copy note by Robert William Frederick Harrison on the Coral Report15 January 1904
NLB/29/370Copy letter from Robert William Frederick Harrison, to Dr Henry Clifton Sorby, Fellow of the Royal Society1 October 1904
NLB/28/594Copy letter from Robert William Frederick Harrison, to Henry Clifton Sorby, Fellow of the Royal Society, Medical & Surgical Home, Clackhouse Road15 April 1904
NLB/28/600Copy letter from Robert William Frederick Harrison, to E Howarth, Public Museum, Sheffield16 April 1904
NLB/29/445Copy letter from Robert William Frederick Harrison, to Henry Clifton Sorby, Fellow of the Royal Society18 October 1904
NLB/32/172Copy letter from Robert William Frederick Harrison, to Dr Henry Clifton Sorby, [Fellow of the Royal Society]19 January 1906
NLB/33/640Copy letter from Robert William Frederick Harrison, to Henry Clifton Sorby, Fellow of the Royal Society, Broomfield, Sheffield13 October 1906
NLB/35/28Copy letter from Robert William Frederick Harrison, to Percy Carlyle Gilchrist, Fellow of the Royal Society5 April 1907
NLB/37/375Copy letter from Robert William Frederick Harrison to Harrison & Sons10 March 1908
NLB/39/365Copy letter from Robert William Frederick Harrison to The Reverend A E Sorby11 January 1909
RR/8/39Referee's report by Henry Clifton Sorby, on a paper 'On the nature and origin of the beds of chert in the upper carboniferous limestones of Ireland' by Edward Hull and E T Hardman29 June 1877
RR/7/234Referee's report by Henry Clifton Sorby, on a paper 'On a new locality of Amblygonite, and on montebrasite, a new hydrated aluminium and lithium phosphate' by Alfred Louis Olivier Des Cloizeaux24 February 1873
RR/8/65Letter from Robert Bellamy Clifton, to Mr White, regarding two papers 'On some hitherto undescribed optical properties of doubly refracting crystals.—Preliminary notice' by Henry Clifton Sorby, and 'On the foci of lines seen through a crystalline plate' by George Gabriel Stokes10 August 1877
RR/9/3Referee's report by Henry Clifton Sorby, on a paper 'On a collection of rock specimens from the Island of Socotra' by Thomas George Bonney2 July 1882
RR/8/232Referee's report by Henry Clifton Sorby, on a paper 'Researches into the colouring-matters of human urine, with an account of the separation of urobilin' by Charles Alexander MacMunn17 March 1880
RR/8/199Referee's report by Henry Clifton Sorby, on a paper 'Microscopical researches in high power definition' by George West Royston-Pigott4 July 1879
RR/8/255Second referee's report by Henry Clifton Sorby, on a paper 'Microscopical researches in high power definition' by George West Royston-Pigott5 August 1880
RR/9/307Referee's report by Henry Clifton Sorby, on a paper 'Contributions to the chemistry of chlorophyll. Part I' by Henry Edward Schunck16 July 1885
RR/10/270Second referee's report by Henry Clifton Sorby, on a paper 'The structural arrangement of the mineral matters in sedimentary and crystalline pearls' by George Harleynd [1889]
RR/8/166Referee's report by Henry Clifton Sorby, on a paper 'On the origin of the mineral, structural, and chemical characters of ophites and related rocks' by W King and T H Rowney16 July 1879
RR/13/142Referee's report by Henry Clifton Sorby, on a paper 'An experimental investigation of the laws of attrition' by Frederick Thomas Trouton11 October 1895
RR/8/217Referee's report by Henry Clifton Sorby, on the Bakerian Lecture 'On photographic method of mapping the least refrangible end of the solar spectrum' by William de Wiveleslie Abney28 January 1880
RR/8/64Referee's report by Robert Bellamy Clifton, on two papers 'On some hitherto undescribed optical properties of doubly refracting crystals.—Preliminary notice' by Henry Clifton Sorby, and 'On the foci of lines seen through a crystalline plate' by George Gabriel Stokes8 August 1877
RR/8/38Second referee's report by Henry Clifton Sorby, on a paper 'On the nature and origin of the beds of chert in the upper carboniferous limestones of Ireland' by Edward Hull and E T Hardmannd [1877]
NLB/6/448Copy letter from Herbert Rix, to the Cambridge Engraving Company13 May 1892
NLB/5/289Copy letter from Herbert Rix, to Henry Clifton Sorby, Fellow of the Royal Society29 April 1891
RR/6/230Referee's report by Henry Clifton Sorby, on a paper 'Notes on the chemical geology of the gold-fields of California' by John Arthur Phillips3 April 1868
RR/8/186Referee's report by Henry Clifton Sorby, on a paper 'Limestone as an index of geological time' by Thomas Mellard Reade17 March 1879
NLB/5/226Copy letter from Herbert Rix, to Henry Clifton Sorby, Fellow of the Royal Society17 April 1891
IM/000587Group lithograph of Royal Microscopical Society Presidentsnd
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