For quite a while, scientific biography was relegated to a subordinate status in the history of science. In the last two decades, however, it has seen a revival, which can be explained both by its popularity among general audiences as it conveys a closer image of scientists and scientific practice, and science historians' reappraisal of biography as a literary genre and as a source for their research. When writing scientific biographies or using them as a source, however, historians have to contend with complex questions, such as the extent to which a particular biography is representative of larger patterns, and they face a variety of problems associated with the use of sources such as oral testimonies and obituaries. In this paper, the scientific lives of Joaquim Filipe Nery da Encarnação Delgado (1835-1908) and Francisco Luís Pereira de Sousa (1870-1931), both engineers working at the Portuguese Geological Survey, and Carlos Teixeira (1910-1982), a leading geologist working in the academia, will be analysed. Through this comparison, the authors aim to characterize the development of Portuguese geology in different contexts in the period spanning from the mid-nineteenth to the twentieth century.

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