Scientists and the Sea is a history of how the scientific study of the sea has developed over a period of nearly 2500 years. Beginning with the speculations of Greek philosophers it carries the story forward, showing how curiosity about the ocean appeared in many different forms and locations before, in the late 19th century, the first deep-sea researches heralded the foundation of the science known today as oceanography. Originally published in 1971, this book has never been superseded as the most comprehensive and wide-ranging treatment of the emergence of marine science within the western scientific tradition. After three introductory chapters dealing with knowledge up to the Renaissance, the main part of the work shows how pioneers of scientific observation at sea during the 17th and 18th centuries made notable discoveries, but that it was not until the middle of the 19th century when, aided by the advance of technology, scientists were able to undertake the first explorations of the ocean depths. This second edition contains a new introduction and bibliography.
Some reviews of the first edition - ’extremely readable, exhaustively documented and well referenced’ Times Higher Education Supplement ’Margaret Deacon’s pathbreaking monograph is…especially welcome. In 400 pages she has magisterially surveyed the history of man’s knowledge of the oceans from the beginnings to the turn of the twentieth century - the first time this has been done with depth and authority’ Isis Second edition: 'Scientists and the Sea….should be considered required reading for any serious student of the sea.' The Northern Mariner, Vol. VIII, No. 2 ’..a must-have volume even for those lucky enough to have a copy of the first edition….Scientists and the Sea is as vital and important now as it was during the formative stages of our discipline and it has been complemented by the new material added in the second edition. No one interested in the history of the marine sciences should be without it.’ History of Oceanography, No. 10 'a magnificent survey of the origins and growth of oceanography from the time of ancient Greece…To the original text Deacon has added a new introduction and an extensively updated bibliography, both of which enhance its importance and relevance….Of this edition, as of the first, one can say that Scientists and the Sea should be the starting point for any historian studying the history of oceanography or marine biology.' ISIS, Vol. 89, No. 4 'Over a quarter of a century after its original publication in 1971, Deacon’s book remains the primary reference source for history of marine science…Several additions to the text in the second edition make it much more valuable than the original..Deacon’s introduction to the second edition..provides an excellent historiographic orientation to the field.' Earth Sciences History, Vol. 17, No. 2
Contents: Preface; Introduction & preface to 2nd edition; The background to the 17th-century movement; The Ancient World; The Middle Ages; The Renaissance; Marine science in the 17th century; The 17th-century movement towards a science of the sea; Theories and observations of tides; Marine science in the works of Robert Boyle; The currents in the Strait of Gibralter; Robert Hooke and the vanishing harvest; An age of philosophy and curious navigation; Reawakening interest in the sea, 1700-1800; Widening horizons: the last quarter of the 18th century; Marine science in the early 19th century: a period of growth; The unsatisfied ocean; Wild-meeting ocenas: the study of tides; The threshold of the deep ocean; The magnificent generalization; the voyage of H.M.S. Challenger; Edinburgh and the growth of oceanography at the end of the 19th century; Appendices; Bibliography; Index.