Geologist and geographer. Born in Tarradale House, near Muir of Ord (Highland), the eldest son of an East India Company doctor who had made his fortune in the service of Warren Hastings in Calcutta, Murchison was educated in Durham and at the Royal Military College (now Sandhurst) and served under the Duke of Wellington in the Peninsular War. In 1835 he established the Silurian geological system. He also defined the Permian system and, with Sedgwick, the Devonian. At the invitation of Czar Nicholas, Murchison led a survey of the Russian Empire (1840 - 1845). He predicted the discovery of gold in Australia and was a founder of the Royal Geological Society of London. A prodigious author, he published more than 120 scientific paper and books in his lifetime.
He was knighted in 1846. The Murchison Falls (Uganda) and the Murchison River (Australia) are named after him. His biographer was Sir Archibald Geikie (1835 - 1924), another noted geologist and a close friend.