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Book review: Oreskes, plate tectonics

April 21, 2012

A collection of essays that tell the stories of the people who developed plate tectonics. I really enjoyed this book for several reasons. It is an unusual format, I can’t recall reading anything like this. The authors were leading scientists in the 1960s when the view of the world changed from being either static or a slow drift, to the current model of rigid plates moving on convection currents in the mantle. It really is amazing looking back and realising that geology was so different back then, and that it all changed so quickly. Within a decade or so, the old theories were discarded by most, and the new theory took hold.

As the writing is by practicing scientists rather than professional writers, some of the book is a bit stilted. In some ways, that is refreshing as you know that the story is in their words. The dynamics of the people involved, the new science, the new technology that greatly improved data collection and its analysis, and many more aspects were so interesting. I certainly feel that I have learnt a lot, or perhaps more that I’ve learnt an important part of our history, by reading this book.


From → Stuff I've Read

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