Can anyone today imagine the earth without its puzzle-piece construction of plate tectonics? The very term, "plate tectonics," coined only thirty-five years ago, is now part of the vernacular, part of everyone's understanding of the way the earth works.The theory, research, data collection, and analysis that came together in the late 1960's to constitute plate tectonics is one of the great scientific breakthroughs of the 20th century. Scholarly books have been written about tectonics, but none by the key scientists-players themselves. In Plate Tectonics, editor Naomi Oreskes has assembled those scientists who played crucial roles in developing the theory to tell - for the first time, and in their own words - the stories of their involvement in the extraordinary confrimation of the theory.The book opens with an overview of the history of plate tectonics, including in-context definitions of the key terms that are discussed throughout the book. Oreskes explains how the forerunners of the theory, Wegener and du Toit, raised questions that were finally answered thirty years later, and how scientists working at the key academic institutions - Cambridge and Princeton Universities, Columbia University's Lamont Doherty Geological Observatory, and the University of California-San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography ? competed and collaborated until the theory coalesced.
This long-standing, widely respected series was founded in 1961 in an effort to put forward coherent works that summarize developments in the most active and interesting areas of physics. It continues to serve that need, including textbooks, monographs, lecture notes, and professional manuals that aid in offering synthetic, authoritative accounts of the present state of the art in key subject areas of wide interest to physicists. The caliber of authors published in the series speaks to the high standards of its publication: R. P. Feynman, D. Pines, L. P. Kadanoff, R. Hofstadter, J. Schwinger, and many others.
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