History of Geophysics: Volume 3

History of Geophysics: Volume 3

Editor(s): C. Stewart Gillmor, Edward R. Landa, Simon Ince, William Back

Published Online: 15 MAR 2013

Print ISBN: 9780875902777

Online ISBN: 9781118665398

DOI: 10.1029/HG003

About this Book

Published by the American Geophysical Union as part of the History of Geophysics Series, Volume 3.

For society as a whole, and more specifically, for a subgroup of society composed of the practitioners of a specific scientific discipline such as hydrology, the preservation and study of the record of how our understanding of natural processes has developed is not only a worthy and noble goal in itself, but has a didactic role in the education of scientists. However, for such preservation and study of this record to occur requires the action of individuals-either historians of science or practitioners of science. Both have a role, and both are represented in this volume. For the historians of science, such activities represent the focus of their profession. In contrast, for the practicing scientist, such historical activities are necessarily peripheral. In addition, for most such individuals the last formal contact with history came in high school or early in college. The exposure was to political history, all too often with an emphasis on the rote memorization of names and dates, and occasional platitudes regarding history as a key to understanding the future. In the typical university-level science class, there is generally little or no discussion of the historical development of the field. Where such discussion does occur, it more-often-than-not is a proforma, first lecture or part thereof, used more as an ice-breaker than a serious attempt at discussing the development of the present state-of-knowledge. Except for a few advanced seminars, there is generally little emphasis on reading the original literature that forms the foundation of the science summarized in current texts.

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