(March 24, 1494 - November 21, 1555)
From Today In Science History:
He was a German scholar and scientist known as "the father of mineralogy." His work paved the way for further systematic study of the Earth and of its rocks, minerals, and fossils. He made fundamental contributions to mining geology and metallurgy, mineralogy, structural geology, and paleontology. He Latinized his real name of Georg Bauer, to be known as Georgius Agricola. Having studied medicine, he became interested in mineralogy through his study of miners' diseases. His most important work, "De Re Metallica", (published a year after his death) summarized all the practical knowledge gained by Saxon miners. He was among the first to found a natural science upon observation. He may have coined the word petroleum ("rock oil").