Henry R. Frankel's The continental drift controversy, vol. 1: Wegener and the PDF

By Henry R. Frankel

ISBN-10: 0521875048

ISBN-13: 9780521875042

Solution of the sixty 12 months debate over continental float, culminating within the triumph of plate tectonics, replaced the very cloth of Earth technological know-how. This four-volume treatise at the continental glide controversy is the 1st whole heritage of the foundation, debate and slow popularity of this progressive concept. in line with wide interviews, archival papers and unique works, Frankel weaves jointly the lives and paintings of the scientists concerned, generating an available narrative for scientists and non-scientists alike. this primary quantity covers the interval within the early 1900s while Wegener first mentioned that the Earth's significant landmasses will be geared up jointly like a jigsaw and went directly to suggest that the continents had as soon as been joined jointly in one landmass, which he named Pangaea. It describes the reception of Wegener's idea because it splintered into sub-controversies and geoscientists turned divided among the 'fixists' and 'mobilists'.

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Extra info for The continental drift controversy, vol. 1: Wegener and the early debate

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I have no prejudices – but when I’m working, I have lots of them. But the thing that’s unusual about good scientists is that while they’re doing whatever they’re doing, they’re not so sure of themselves as others usually are. ” Many people find that difficult; they think it means detachment or coldness. It’s not coldness! ”, and you look up and say “Jeez! ” It happens all the time. (Richard P. Feynman 1999: 199–200) The two tendencies, specialization and regionalism, strongly affected theory preference during the mobilism debate.

Obviously one should know about stratigraphy, mineralogy, and palaeontology, and, of course, one should know a lot of physics and chemistry and a good deal about oceanography and astronomy, and be a pretty highgrade mathematician and statistician. It is also helpful to be a good draughtsman, a competent electronic designer and repair man, and to be able to code electronic computers. Obviously there are no well-qualified students of the Earth, and all of us, in different degrees, dig our own small specialised holes and sit in them.

Darwin worked on the problem almost secretly from 1838, and only published in 1859 because he was forced to. After that time ice came down like Niagara, but of course the new idea was still ill-understood and ill-expounded for at least the next 50 years, during which a few subordinate causes of error had been removed by special research. I think a lot of geologists must be timidly peering out of their holes on hearing the strange news that geophysicists are talking about continental drift, and I have often wondered how many scientific discoveries of importance have been left unmade for lack of the quality called moral courage.

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The continental drift controversy, vol. 1: Wegener and the early debate by Henry R. Frankel

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