Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences

Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences

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Over the course of the twentieth century, scientists came to accept four counterintuitive yet fundamental facts about the Earth: deep time, continental drift, meteorite impact, and global warming. When first suggested, each proposition violated scientific orthodoxy and was quickly denounced as scientificA‘and sometimes religiousA‘heresy. Nevertheless, after decades of rejection, scientists and many in the public grew to acknowledge the truth of each theory. The stories behind these four discoveries reflect more than the fascinating push and pull of scientific work. They reveal the provocative nature of science, which raises profound and uncomfortable truths as it advances. For example, the Earth and the solar system are older than all of human existence; the interactions among the moving plates and the continents they carry account for nearly all of the EarthA•s surface features; and nearly every important feature of our solar system results from the chance collision of objects in space. Most surprising of all, we have altered the climate of an entire planet and threaten the future of human civilization. This absorbing scientific history is the only book to describe the evolution of these four ideas from heresy to truth, showing how science works in practice and how it inevitably corrects the mistakes of its practitioners. Scientists can be wrong, but science can be trusted. In the process, astonishing ideas are born and, over time, take root.Having taught himself physics and chemistry, Croll took a job as the caretaker of a Glasgow museum in order to have access to its books. ... 5 Another criticism of Kelvina#39;s approach came from close to home and in mathematical form. ... 7 Perry made a simple change to Kelvina#39;s assumption of a homogeneous Earth: he imagined that a thin, solid crust overlies a fluid interior that conducts heat by convection.

Title:Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences
Author:James Lawrence Powell
Publisher:Columbia University Press - 2015-01-06


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