Another viewpoint


  • Foster Morrison


The proposals by Frank T. Manheim in the September 1975 EOS to increase by a significant amount the number of earth scientists who can read Russian are not very realistic. There is much of great value published in the Russian language. For example, Russian texts on modern mathematics are often well written and contain good levels of exposition and motivation as well as rigor, whereas Western mathematicians value unintelligibility very highly. In geodesy, M. S. Molodenski and L. P. Pellinen are among the very best in the field. The bulk of the Soviet geodetic literature is of very low caliber, however. All that the large amount of Russian language geodetic publication proves is that printing is cheap in the USSR. The typography is sloppy, and the paper is newsprint. The editing and writing of the papers are usually poor, and the content is often trivial or irrelevant.