Lessons from mass extinction


  • Anonymous


A session on the Mass Extinction Debates will be held July 12 at the Biannual Meeting of the International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology at Northwestern University. This meeting will be the first that brings together the debating scientists with historians, philosophers, and sociologists of science who view the extinction upheaval as an exceptional opportunity to observe the workings of science that may be hidden from view in the study of less controversial topics.

The growing debates over the cause of mass extinctions were triggered by the Alvarez/Berkeley-group meteorite impact hypothesis in 1979. The conflict has engaged a seemingly broader range of scientific disciplines than any other debate in the history of Earth sciences and has prompted rejuvenation of long quiescent areas of research, collaborations between formerly isolated specialists, redirection of careers, and remarkable new field studies, experiments, and reexamination of evidence.