It's a pity that the 18th century scientist Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon is not better known in the Earth Sciences.
Scientist Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon decided to reconstruct all of Earth's history, from its fiery beginnings to an anticipated freezing oblivion, in a single volume - Les Epoques. It was arguably the first science-based history of Earth. Buffon designed "burning mirrors" to melt rock, and he dug deep shafts in search of fossils. His writing style made this groundbreaking research accessible to the public, something many of his peers disapproved.
Source: NewScientist, 8 October 2016, p. 40 & Wikipedia
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