In America, Dr. Thomas Antisell (1817–1893) is best known for his work as a geologist with the Pacific Railroad Survey under Lt. Parke. Prior to his participation with the survey, his background was in medicine, chemistry and geology, with accomplishments in all three areas, notably writing on the geology and soils of his native Ireland. As a political outcast, his arrival in America in 1854 found him teaching chemistry and practicing medicine, until his relationship with fellow Irish botanist and physician John Torrey landed him a position as geologist with that part of the survey exploring portions of southern California, notably the Coastal Range, and southern portions of Arizona and New Mexico. Although his involvement with the survey would be his last large-scale federally-sponsored geological endeavor, he would continue to pursue interests in applied geology, among his other varied interests in medicine and chemistry. These interests would include federal positions as Chemical Examiner with the United States Patent Office, Capital Chemist with the United States Department of Agriculture, surgeon during the Civil War, consultant as a Foreign Advisor in Japan, and Professor at Georgetown University, among other schools of medicine. Although many early American geologists received their academic education at medical schools, and were physicians that made career moves to geology and remained professional geologists throughout their career, Antisell was primarily a physician, with varied interests in applied chemistry and applied geology as evident from his writings. Thus, Antisell is one of America’s early Medical Geologists; a term that would not become familiar and commonplace to the geological community until the 1990s. Moreover, as with other geologists of his time, he got some things right, and others not so, but his work set a geological foundation in new regions of the country, and raised questions that would eventually be addressed more fully by later investigators.

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