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56 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Plate Tectonics as told by those that assembled the theory,
This review is from: Plate Tectonics: An Insider's History Of The Modern Theory Of The Earth (Hardcover)This is a highly informative account of both the ideas that led to the development of Plate Tectonic theory and the concepts of how the earth works. The book is engaging to read and is understandable to an audience at the level of Scientific American. I am using it as a required text in my course at Columbia University titled "Plate-tectonic theory and its geological corollaries". For those fascinated in how the human mind puts observations together to build ideas and then test them, this book is first rate. Each chapter is crafted by a different researcher describing his or her contribution to the over all theory. The reader encounters brilliant and original ideas discarded by peer review, scientists peeping over each other's shoulder, the rush to the goal line to publish first, competition for access to key data sets, a last minute conversion from the static earth perspective, and the thrill of exploration at sea. The authors presents a wonderful history in Chapter 1 of the intellectual passage from the first inkling of continental drift in the 16th century to the breakthrough in 1966-1968 of the full-blown theory of rigid lithosphere paving stones and narrow plate boundaries.
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful "insiders' history",
This review is from: Plate Tectonics: An Insider's History Of The Modern Theory Of The Earth (Hardcover)This book will delight all historians of science. The indefatigable Naomi Oreskes, known for her excellent history of continental drift and plate tectonics, has assembled reminiscences by the surviving founders of plate tectonics theory. Dr. Oreskes deserves the highest praise for this. Alas, the senior figures such as Arthur Holmes and Harry Hess are no longer with us; the writers of these essays were graduate students in the critical early 1960s. Now elders themselves, they recall the excitement of coming on the scene just when all was breaking loose. Even the most sober number-crunchers manage to write with infectious enthusiasm. The theories are explained in a notably accessible fashion, and the varied intellectual currents of the time (and, in some essays, subsequent decades) are brought out. My one complaint--as a reader interested in the history of science--is that the writers don't say much about their personal lives. One suspects that some of them have no personal lives beyond number-crunching. Most, however, hint at or partially reveal rich and interesting backgrounds that clearly affected their thoughts. Only Peter Molnar does much more than hint, and, although he claims that one reader called his essay "unexpurgated," even he is rather reticent. Still, this volume is a gold mine, providing a very different look at one of the most "revolutionary" (in scare quotes) theoretical advances in the history of science. The consensus here seems to be that it was indeed a revolution, at least in the eyes of American graduate students of the 1960s, but not a Kuhnian revolution brought about by highly intellectualized "paradigm shifts" (Kuhn 1962); it was brought about by new field methods that brought floods of new data. These allowed the development of real mathematical models. One can only stand in awe of the amount of work this entailed. Several authors speak of working day and night, week after week, on data entry and computer jockeying. They managed this without any loss of enthusiasm--quite the reverse, apparently. Ah, youth.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Plate Tectonics,
This review is from: Plate Tectonics: An Insider's History Of The Modern Theory Of The Earth (Hardcover)Plate Tectonics: An Insider's History of the Moden Theory of the Earth edited by Naomi Oreskes is a book about the movement of the land masses on the Earth and how the theory of plate tectonics came about. In the book there are seventeen original essays by the scientists who made earth history as they explain how placte tectonics works.
Plate tectonics is a science that you'd think has been around for a long time, but in fact, not until 1968 has the theory, research, data collection and analysis came together. The movement of relatively static land masses was not a popular idea, especially in the oil industry, where they believed that tectonics was not a viable theory.
This book takes us on a journey in history giving us a historical background of continental drift to plate tectonics. What I find extemely interesting about this book is the actual players in the development of the theory are represented here. Giving their accounts and insight into why things are as they are... explaining their thought processes in confirmation of the theory of plate tectonics.
Each author gives a piece of the puzzle until there is enough evidence that a workable theory can be developed. These authors tell us in their own words, making for a compelling book about discovery. Also, the reader will find an overview of definitions of terms used throughout the book, this keeps the readers interest as you will not be overburdoned with terms you do not understnd.
All in all, this is a very readable book as it explains the science of plate tectonics and the inter-relationship of this science to man's well-being on earth.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars plate tectonics by Naomi Oreskes,
This review is from: Plate Tectonics: An Insider's History Of The Modern Theory Of The Earth (Paperback)I really enjoyed the book, it gives you the view the scientific articles dont give, I love the personal notes, the views of the scientists that wrote the different chapters, and the insights on their personalities and character which the scientific articles always are void of. You learn things about plate tectonics that are not in the books and makes you remember what is good science and how it is done.
A must for any earth science student,but also for any science lecturer.
5.0 out of 5 stars PLATE TECTONICS,
This review is from: Plate Tectonics: An Insider's History Of The Modern Theory Of The Earth (Paperback)I initially read this book from the public library and liked it so well, I decided to buy it for my technical library. It is an excellent history of how our understanding of plate tectonics developed and the tremendous contributions made by the scientists who worked on the various aspects of it.
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent primer for graduate study,
This review is from: Plate Tectonics: An Insider's History Of The Modern Theory Of The Earth (Paperback)This is a wonderfully rewarding book on several levels. I enjoyed learning how modern geological concepts emerged from new and revisited data. It's entertaining to witness diverse personalities as the 17 researchers retell their own role in history. Perhaps most of all, it's great to see how the gifted and very shrewd young geologists made the most of their graduate and postdoc opportunities. The result is an entertaining and illuminating illustration of science moving forward and young scientists getting ahead.
0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Plate Techtonic,
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Plate Tectonics: An Insider's History Of The Modern Theory Of The Earth by Naomi Oreskes (Paperback - February 4, 2003)