The Dating Game: One Man's Search for the Age of the Earth

The Dating Game: One Man's Search for the Age of the Earth

by Cherry Lewis
Pub. Date:
Cambridge University Press


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The Dating Game: One Man's Search for the Age of the Earth

How old is the Earth? At the end of the nineteenth century, geologists, biologists, physicists and astronomers were all looking for a clock that would provide and answer to this greatest Time question of all. Here is the story of one man's vision in developing a geological timescale that would finally lead to an accurate date for the Age of the Earth. Despite scientific opposition, financial hardship and personal tragedy, Arthur Holmes, perhaps the greatest geologist of the twentieth century, fought for fifty years to convince the geological "establishment" of a Earth of great antiquity, a fight that eventually transformed the moribund "art" of geology into a dynamic science, Cherry Lewis vividly brings Holmes and his quest back to life and skillfully weaves his personal adventures, loves, and losses into the story of how the Earth's age was determined and radioactivity discovered—the clock that tells geological time. More than a superb account of a significant scientific discovery, this engaging book gives inspiring witness to the power of the human will and spirit in overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521893121
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 03/28/2002
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 5.43(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.63(d)

About the Author

Cherry Lewis has had a life-long passion for rocks and fossils. After Drama College and running her own business for several years, she finally decided to indulge her passion and studied geology as a mature student at Bristol University. Her degree was succeeded by a PhD on Tibetan granites and post-doctoral research at University College London, which led to a career in the oil industry. Whilst writing her thesis she discovered the work of Arthur Holmes and became captivated by the man who pioneered the way towards determining the true age of the Earth.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsviii
Prelude to the Game1
A Brief History of Time7
Darwin's Sorest Trouble27
Mysterious Rays40
Doomsday Postponed50
Holidays in Mozambique67
This Vegetable Prison80
A Brimful of Promise105
Liquid Gold in Yenangyaung118
Durham Days137
The Ardnamurchan Affair152
Rewards and Retributions170
Why does the Sun Shine?179
The Age of Uranium193
The Age of the Earth217
Loose Ends229
Thanks and Acknowledgements239
Selected Bibliography247

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