1944 Wegener's theory was consistently championed throughout the 1930s and 1940s by Arthur Holmes, an eminent British geologist and geomorphologist. Holmes had performed the first uranium-lead radiometric dating to measure the age of a rock during his graduate studies, and furthered the newly created discipline of geochronology through his renowned book . Importantly, his second famous book did not follow the traditional viewpoints and concluded with a chapter describing continental drift.
1912 Alfred Wegener reproposed the theory of continental drift. He had initially become fascinated by the near-perfect fit between the coastlines of Africa and South America, and by the commonality among their geological features, fossils, and evidence of a glaciation having affected these two separate continents. He compiled a considerable amount of data in a concerted exposition of his theory, and suggested that during the late Permian all the continents were once assembled into a supercontinent that he named Pangaea, meaning 'all Earth'. He drew maps showing how the continents have since moved to today's positions. He proposed that Pangaea began to break apart just after the beginning of the Mesozoic Era, about 200 Ma ago, and that the continents then slowly drifted into their current positions.
The remarkable notion that the continents have been constantly broken apart and reassembled throughout Earth's history is now widely accepted. The greatest revolution in 20th century understanding of how our planet works, known as plate tectonics, happened in the 1960s, and has been so profound that it can be likened to the huge advances in physics that followed Einstein's theory of relativity. According to the theory of plate tectonics, the Earth's surface is divided into rigid plates of continental and oceanic lithosphere that, through time, move relative to each other, and which increase or decrease in area. The growth, destruction and movement of these lithospheric plates are the major topics of this course, but it is first worth considering how the theory actually developed from its beginnings as an earlier idea of 'continental drift'.
When world-class biblical scholar Bart Ehrman first began to study the texts of the Bible in their original languages he was startled to discover the multitude of mistakes and intentional alterations that had been made by earlier translators. In Misquoting Jesus, Ehrman tells the story behind the mistakes and changes that ancient scribes made to the New Testament and shows the great impact they had upon the Bible we use today. He frames his account with personal reflections on how his study of the Greek manuscripts made him abandon his once ultraconservative views of the Bible. Since the advent of the printing press and the accurate reproduction of texts, most people have assumed that when they read the New Testament they are reading an exact copy of Jesus' words or Saint Paul's writings. And yet, for almost fifteen hundred years these manuscripts were hand copied by scribes who were deeply influenced by the cultural, theological, and political disputes of their day. Both mistakes and intentional changes abound in the surviving manuscripts, making the original words difficult to reconstruct. For the first time, Ehrman reveals where and why these changes were made and how scholars go about reconstructing the original words of the New Testament as closely as possible. Ehrman makes the provocative case that many of our cherished biblical stories and widely held beliefs concerning the divinity of Jesus, the Trinity, and the divine origins of the Bible itself stem from both intentional and accidental alterations by scribes -- alterations that dramatically affected all subsequent versions of the Bible.
1965 The Canadian J. Tuzo Wilson offered a fundamental reinterpretation of Wegener's continental drift theory and became the first person to use the term 'plates' to describe the division and pattern of relative movement between different regions of the Earth's surface (i.e. plate tectonics). He also proposed a tectonic cycle (the Wilson cycle) to describe the lifespan of an ocean basin: from its initial opening, through its widening, shrinking and final closure through a continent-continent collision.
Physicist Richard Feynman has a reputation as a bongo-playing, hard-partying, flamboyant Nobel Prize laureate for his work on quantum electrodynamics theory, but this tends to obscure the fact that he was a brilliant thinker who continued making contributions to science until his death in 1988. He foresaw new directions in science that have begun to produce practical applications only in the last decade: nanotechnology, atomic-scale biology like the manipulation of DNA, lasers to move individual atoms, and quantum engineering. In the 1960s, Feynman entered the field of quantum gravity and created important tools and techniques for scientists studying black holes and gravity waves. Author Krauss (The Physics of Star Trek), an MIT-trained physicist, doesn't necessarily break new ground in this biography, but Krauss excels in his ability, like Feynman himself, to make complicated physics comprehensible. He incorporates Feynman's lectures and quotes several of the late physicist's colleagues to aid him in this process. This book is highly recommended for readers who want to get to know one of the preeminent scientists of the 20th century.
He believed in many of the observations Wegenerused in defending his theory of continental drift, but he had very differentviews about large-scale movements of the Earth.
Even while serving in the U.S.
Another popularization of the Human Genome Project, this one has the distinction of being the first published as an anthology, and among its contributors are some leading scholars, scientists, and social critics. The three parts of the book present essays covering topics in "History, Politics, and Genetics," "Genetics, Technology, and Medicine," and "Ethics, Law, and Society." Some of the essays are quite provocative, especially editor Kevles's "Out of Eugenics: The Historical Politics of the Human Genome" () , Dorothy Nelkin's "The Social Power of Genetic Information", Ruth Schwartz Conan's "Genetic Technology and Reproductive Choice", and James D. Watson's "A Personal View of the Project." Still, there is a good deal of substantive overlap among the essays and, while the discussions by experts are more sophisticated and specialized than those appearing in other books, little new information is presented for general readers. Public libraries with either Jerry Bishop and Michael Waldholz's Genome ( LJ 7/90) or Robert Shapiro's The Human Blueprint ( LJ 9/1/91) do not need this title, but academic libraries should consider it.
In Enlightenment 2.0, bestselling author Joseph Heath outlines a program for a second Enlightenment. The answer, he argues, lies in a new "slow politics." It takes as its point of departure recent psychological and philosophical research, which identifies quite clearly the social and environmental preconditions for the exercise of rational thought. It is impossible to restore sanity merely by being sane and trying to speak in a reasonable tone of voice. The only way to restore sanity is by engaging in collective action against the social conditions that have crowded it out.