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Soundings: The Story of the Remarkable Woman Who Mapped the Ocean Floor Paperback – July 2, 2013
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“Felt is a playful, wildly thoughtful writer, who can extrapolate meanings about our view of the past from outdated scientific terms…that illuminate the text with the kind of evocative details that make the story of real life so real.” ―Oprah.com
“Felt's enthusiasm for Tharp reaches the page, revealing Tharp, who died in 2006, to be a strong-willed woman living according to her own rules, defying the constraints of her time.” ―The Washington Post
“This is a fascinating account of a woman working without much recognition who used recorded soundings to map the ocean floor and change the course of ocean science.” ―San Francisco Chronicle
“[Soundings] provides a memorable account of oceanography during the 1940s to 1960s: a thrilling time when so much was being discovered. And it celebrates the extraordinary life of Tharp as a woman and a scientist.” ―Nature
“[Tharp] is the woman who mapped the ocean floor, forever changing scientific understanding of the planet. Ignored and marginalized for much of her career, Tharp has at last come into her own.” ―Science News
“Felt has been able to perform the sort of data-handling magic on these mountains of memorabilia that Tharp earlier performed on Heezen's soundings--distilling a sharp and illuminating biography that reveals the profiles and contours of a life.” ―Natural History
“Felt follows the traces of Tharp's life by deftly balancing the scientific and the poetic.” ―Minneapolis Star Tribune
“[Felt] wrestles complex research procedures and concepts into submission…In the same way researchers sound the floor of the ocean, Soundings finds the depths in Tharp. Both the life and the biography are rich in accomplishment.” ―Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Hali Felt poignantly imagines a private life the way her subject interpolated the unseen deep: hauntingly conjuring what cannot be known firsthand. Tharp [is] a fascinating character in the saga of oceanographic exploration and deserves this admiring biography.” ―Bust Magazine
“Felt's biography reimagines [Tharp's] progression from a nomadic childhood through scientific breakthroughs with a vivid, poetic touch, revealing an idiosyncratic and determined woman whose 'vigorous creativity' advanced everyone's career but her own.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Felt's biography brings [Tharp's] contributions to life...readers interested in biographies will appreciate Tharp's remarkable scientific work. Recommended.” ―Library Journal
“A complex, rich biography of a groundbreaking geologist who discovered 'a rift valley running down the center of the Atlantic'...A well-researched, engaging account of an important scientific discovery that should also find a place on women's-studies shelves.” ―Kirkus
“Delightful…[Soundings] is an artfully written biography about a rakish and headstrong woman in the sometimes antagonistic boys'-club atmosphere of academia in the mid-twentieth century…This is an exceptional story told by an equally exceptional writer.” ―Booklist, starred review
“Biography readers who love discovering stories of fascinating, historically important figures should rush to find a copy of Soundings…Felt's mission is not to embroider or alter Tharp's essence, but to discover it, and she succeeds in this powerful portrait of a woman so driven that society could not stop her from changing the world.” ―Shelf Awareness
“Felt has done an outstanding job bringing Marie Tharp to life as an eccentric and colorful character…it's a fascinating human story that reads better than some fiction.” ―Story Circle Book Reviews
Top Customer Reviews
1) Bob Dietz - the man who coined the term "spreading seafloor", who published his Nature article a year before Hess published his "essay in geopoetry, the generous soul who referenced Hess twice and that Hess studiously ignored - is not mentioned.Read more ›
In the first half of Soundings, Hali Felt does a good job in establishing how Marie's eclectic early life and education probably provided the foundation for her unique and revolutionary approach to visualizing the ocean floor. But the author fails to document (despite several passing comments) Marie's "abundant other contributions" to marine science. Reading the second half of the book brought to mind images of Leonardo endlessly retouching La Gioconda. How significantly did Marie influence ideas that Bruce Heezen went on to publish and take credit for? What impact did the updates of her ocean floor maps have on the course of marine science after their initial dramatic appearance?
To her credit, the author does not dwell on discrimination as the basis for Marie's eventual banishment from Lamont. Sexism was certainly a component of the social atmosphere of Lamont, but it was not the primary driving force that defined status at the lab. That role fell to a hierarchical system based on education, friendships, and a sustaining (and perhaps fanatical) commitment to hard work and productivity.Read more ›
Marie Tharp devoted her life to the study of the ocean floor. A region that was less understood than the face of the moon. She took strings of data obtained from scores of observations by vessels of many nations and put them together into a map. The ability to see this data at a glance on a map changed geology forever. The current understanding of plate tectonics and continental drift comes directly from the study of her meticulous rendering of this data.
Pull up Google maps and take a look at any see bed. This woman mapped 90% of what you are looking at. On top of that she until very recently - after her death by the way - got very little credit for it.
This is a very good book. It tells in great detail the life of a brilliant woman and just what "following your dream" used to entail if you happened to be born female.
I recommend this book very strongly to anyone who has an interest in science or the history of social change.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
National Geographic published in 1977 a color panoramic map, which showed the features of the sea floor for the very first time. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Charles Bookman
I enjoyed this book very much , and had not even heard of this wonderful woman, who mapped the ocean floor. I thought
it might be a bit dry, or dull, but it was not. Read more
I bet this is a great book to read. I didn't read it to be honest. I only bought it because my professor said I had to. Turned out it was never needed. Money wasted. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
Soundings. Please see the review I just gave. It applies to all the copies I purchased.Published 9 months ago by Frances C. Kauffman
Soundings is the life story of the woman who mapped all the ocean floors and discovered the Atlantic Drift. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Frances C. Kauffman
I was assigned to read this book for my GEOL 100 class. The book is a very easy read and very insightful to the world of early Geology research. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
It appears that the two most important discoveries of the twentieth century had a woman at a key position in there discoveries, but received very little credit for their... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Glen R. Bleak
Story of a woman to contributed so much to the scientific world's understanding of the ocean floor and she did not receive recognition until the very end of her life. Read morePublished 12 months ago by RAB
My husband loved this! I've read part of it. Seemed a bit author-centric in many ways, but the pictures and illustrations and what've read so far about marie Tharp are absolutely... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Ladybuglovelies