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Posted May 30, 2003
The authors provide a historical record of how our current understanding of ice ages has evolved over time. The do so with excellent narratives and provide detail into the lives of the people involved. Though the subject material is aimed at the scientifically inclined, it is written in a way that people with no background in science will understand. I couldn't put the book down!
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Posted January 22, 2015
This book explains the astonishing tale of the ice ages. It goes into such detail of why they occurred, what they were like,
and when the next one is due. The explanation to the ice age mystery originated when the National Science Foundation organized the
CLIMAP project to investigate transformations in the earth's climate in the last 700,000 years. One of the ambitions was to make a map
of the planet Earth during the previous ice age. Scientists studied cores of sediment from the Indian Ocean bed and break down a
continuous history for the past 500,000 years. Their labor ended up confirming the idea that the earth's sporadic orbital motions take
the cake for the unusual climatic differences which bring on ice ages. This book is a story of a scientific discovery and the wonderful
people who participated: Louis Agassiz, the young Swiss naturalist whose geological studies first convinced scientists that the earth
has recently passed through an ice age; the Reverend William Buckland, an eccentric but respected Oxford professor who fought so
hard against the ice-age theory before accepting it; James Croll, a Scots mechanic who taught himself things as a scientist and first
constructed the astronomic theory of ice ages; Milutin Milankovitch, the Serbian math maniac who gave the astronomic theory its solid
quantitative foundation; and the many other astronomers, geochemists, geologists, paleontologists, and geophysicists who have been
in this field for nearly a century and a half in the pressing search for a solution to the ice-age mystery. You most definitely need to read
this book if you are any of the least bit interested in ice ages, geology, history of science, climate change, or just a good story.
It's a quick but well written tale of the findings of the ice ages and how their nature and origin have been slowly undiscovered over
the following 150 years. One of the writers of the book was personally involved in the story, so he has really gives you a full scoop of
what went down. Unfortunately, this probably accounts for the slower pace of the last few chapters, where events close to him are
described in much greater detail. And even though the book is only 15 years old the last chapter (on a future ice age and the potential
for global warming) seems outdated. Still, the book is well worth the read.
Posted June 27, 2010
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