Today google celebrated the 374th birthaday of Nicolas Steno’s, known as the father of geology and stratigraphy. Google posted the birtday doodle in the manner of logo of Google will look in the form of earth strata with fossils in various bottom layers and a green crust. He was born in in Copenhagen on New Year’s Day (Julian calendar) on 1 January 1638 and he left the family to study medicine.
Steno’s most famous work on shark teeth led him to the question of how any solid object could come to be found inside another solid object, such as a rock or a layer of rock. The “solid bodies within solids” that attracted Steno’s interest included not only fossils, as we would define them today, but minerals, crystals, encrustations, veins, and even entire rock layers or strata. He published his geologic studies in De solido intra solidum naturaliter contento dissertationis prodromus, or Preliminary discourse to a dissertation on a solid body naturally contained within a solid in 1669.
Steno’s life and work has been studied, in particular in relation to the developments in geology in the late nineteenth century. His piety and virtue have been especially evaluated with a view to an eventual canonization. In 1953 his corpse was exhumed, and reburied in the Capella Stenoniana, but without the missing skull. The Italian state donated a fourth-century Christian sarcophagus that had been found in the river Arno. In 1987 he was declared “beatus” – the first step to being declared a saint – by Pope John Paul II. He is thus now called by Catholics Blessed Nicolas Steno.