An old truism holds that a scientific discovery has three stages: first, people deny it is true; then they deny it is important; finally, they credit the wrong person. Alfred Wegener's "discovery" of continental drift went through each stage with unusual drama. In 1915, when he published his theory that the world's continents had once come together in a single landmass before splitting apart and drifting to their current positions, the world's geologists denied and scorned it. The scientific establishment's rejection of continental drift and plate tectonic theory is a story told often and well. Yet, there is an untold side to Wegener's life: he and his famous father-in-law, Wladimir Köppen (a climatologist whose classification of climates is still in use), became fascinated with climates of the geologic past. In the early 20th century Wegener made four expeditions to the then-uncharted Greenland icecap to gather data about climate variations (Greenland ice-core sampling continues to this day). Ending in Ice is about Wegener's explorations of Greenland, blending the science of ice ages and Wegener's continental drift measurements with the story of Wegener's fatal expedition trying to bring desperately needed food and fuel to workers at the central Greenland ice station of Eismitte in 1930. Arctic exploration books with tragic endings have become all too common, but this book combines Wegener's fatal adventures in Greenland with the relevant sciencenow more important than ever as global climate change becomes movie-worthy ("The Day After Tomorrow").
|Publisher:||Oxford University Press, USA|
|Edition description:||New Edition|
|Product dimensions:||9.30(w) x 6.30(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Roger M. McCoy is Emeritus Professor of Physical Geography at the University of Utah.
Table of Contents
1. Scientist and Explorer
2. Wegener's Shocking Idea
3. The World Reacts to Wegener's Idea
4. Preparing for Greenland
5. Arriving in Greenland
6. Establishing Eismitte
7. The Fourth Trip to Eismitte, September, 1930
8. Winter at East Station and West Station, 1930-1931
9. Winter at Eismitte
10. The Search for Wegener and Villumsen
11. Searching for Reasons
12. Remembering Wegener
13. Progress After 1960
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Alfred Wegener was a remarkable man, ahead of his time in many ideas and concepts. This book is a wonderful, yet tragic, tale of his life and work. As an explorer he was like a child, wide eyed and excited; but as a scientist he was cool and collected. The combination of the two created a man of substance, one that I would liked to have met.