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John McPhee’s: Annals of the Former World

Douglas McCollam

in Second Read: Writers Look Back at Classic Works of Reportage

Published in print:
2011
Published Online:
November 2015
ISBN:
9780231159319
eISBN:
9780231500586
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:
10.7312/columbia/9780231159319.003.0014
Subject:
Society and Culture, Media Studies

This essay reviews the book Annals of the Former World, by John McPhee. First published in 1998, Annals of the Former World presents a geological history of North America. The book is a compilation ... More


Eternal Ephemera: Adaptation and the Origin of Species from the Nineteenth Century Through Punctuated Equilibria and Beyond

Niles Eldredge

Published in print:
2015
Published Online:
November 2015
ISBN:
9780231153164
eISBN:
9780231526753
Item type:
book
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:
10.7312/columbia/9780231153164.001.0001
Subject:
Biology, Evolutionary Biology / Genetics

This book follows the development of evolutionary science over the past two hundred years. It highlights the fact that life endures even though all organisms and species are transitory or ephemeral. ... More


The Abyss of Time

James Lawrence Powell

in Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences: From Heresy to Truth

Published in print:
2014
Published Online:
November 2015
ISBN:
9780231164481
eISBN:
9780231538459
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:
10.7312/columbia/9780231164481.003.0001
Subject:
Environmental Science, Environmental Studies

This chapter traces the roots of the idea of deep time, one of the most fundamental and surprising discoveries about the Earth during the twentieth century. In September 1846, William Thomson, then ... More


A Great Mistake Has Been Made

James Lawrence Powell

in Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences: From Heresy to Truth

Published in print:
2014
Published Online:
November 2015
ISBN:
9780231164481
eISBN:
9780231538459
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:
10.7312/columbia/9780231164481.003.0002
Subject:
Environmental Science, Environmental Studies

This chapter examines scientific ideas that led to the theory of deep time, with particular emphasis on the work of William Thomson, later Lord Kelvin. Kelvin used the laws of physics to reject ... More


The Bank of Time

James Lawrence Powell

in Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences: From Heresy to Truth

Published in print:
2014
Published Online:
November 2015
ISBN:
9780231164481
eISBN:
9780231538459
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:
10.7312/columbia/9780231164481.003.0003
Subject:
Environmental Science, Environmental Studies

This chapter examines the efforts of various geologists to calculate the age of the Earth. Each calculation from geology depended on its own assumptions, and each gave at least a slightly different ... More


Account Overdrawn

James Lawrence Powell

in Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences: From Heresy to Truth

Published in print:
2014
Published Online:
November 2015
ISBN:
9780231164481
eISBN:
9780231538459
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:
10.7312/columbia/9780231164481.003.0004
Subject:
Environmental Science, Environmental Studies

This chapter focuses on the disagreements among scientists regarding the age of the Earth. In 1868 Archibald Geikie had endorsed Kelvin's 100-million-year timescale. Over the decades, he watched as ... More


Geologists Unite Against Heresy

James Lawrence Powell

in Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences: From Heresy to Truth

Published in print:
2014
Published Online:
November 2015
ISBN:
9780231164481
eISBN:
9780231538459
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:
10.7312/columbia/9780231164481.003.0012
Subject:
Environmental Science, Environmental Studies

This chapter focuses on geologists who united against the idea of continental drift, first brought up by Alfred Wegener, and declared it a heresy. According to Robert Newman, “In the crucial ... More


Continental Drift: Not Even Wrong

James Lawrence Powell

in Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences: From Heresy to Truth

Published in print:
2014
Published Online:
November 2015
ISBN:
9780231164481
eISBN:
9780231538459
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:
10.7312/columbia/9780231164481.003.0013
Subject:
Environmental Science, Environmental Studies

This chapter takes a look at Arthur Holmes's ideas that lent credence to the theory of continental drift, first brought up by Alfred Wegener. Holmes took Wegener's theory, with its many flaws but ... More


Wandering Poles or Drifting Continents?

James Lawrence Powell

in Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences: From Heresy to Truth

Published in print:
2014
Published Online:
November 2015
ISBN:
9780231164481
eISBN:
9780231538459
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:
10.7312/columbia/9780231164481.003.0015
Subject:
Environmental Science, Environmental Studies

This chapter discusses the results of paleomagnetic research that bore on continental drift. Paleomagnetic research proceeded in two phases. First came the effort to establish the reliability of rock ... More


The Final Confrontation

James Lawrence Powell

in Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences: From Heresy to Truth

Published in print:
2014
Published Online:
November 2015
ISBN:
9780231164481
eISBN:
9780231538459
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:
10.7312/columbia/9780231164481.003.0016
Subject:
Environmental Science, Environmental Studies

This chapter looks at the final confrontation between geophysicists and paleomagnetists over the theory of continental drift. The standard historical geology textbook used in the 1950s did not ... More


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