Neptune's Laboratory: Fantasy, Fear, and Science at Sea

Neptune's Laboratory: Fantasy, Fear, and Science at Sea

by Antony Adler

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Overview

An eyewitness to profound change affecting marine environments on the Newfoundland coast, Antony Adler argues that the history of our relationship with the ocean lies as much in what we imagine as in what we discover.

We have long been fascinated with the oceans, seeking “to pierce the profundity” of their depths. In studying the history of marine science, we also learn about ourselves. Neptune’s Laboratory explores the ways in which scientists, politicians, and the public have invoked ocean environments in imagining the fate of humanity and of the planet—conjuring ideal-world fantasies alongside fears of our species’ weakness and ultimate demise.

Oceans gained new prominence in the public imagination in the early nineteenth century as scientists plumbed the depths and marine fisheries were industrialized. Concerns that fish stocks could be exhausted soon emerged. In Europe these fears gave rise to internationalist aspirations, as scientists sought to conduct research on an oceanwide scale and nations worked together to protect their fisheries. The internationalist program for marine research waned during World War I, only to be revived in the interwar period and again in the 1960s. During the Cold War, oceans were variously recast as battlefields, post-apocalyptic living spaces, and utopian frontiers.

The ocean today has become a site of continuous observation and experiment, as probes ride the ocean currents and autonomous and remotely operated vehicles peer into the abyss. Embracing our fears, fantasies, and scientific investigations, Antony Adler tells the story of our relationship with the seas.



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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674972018
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 11/19/2019
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Antony Adler is Research Associate in the History Department at Carleton College. His work centers on the history of marine science and technology and ocean exploration. He holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of Washington and has been a postdoctoral instructor at the University of Washington and a postdoctoral fellow with the Program on Science, Technology & Society at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 Discovering Wonder in the Deep 13

2 Marine Science for the Nation or for the World? 46

3 Scientific Internationalism in a Pacific World 74

4 Cold War Science on the Seafloor 101

5 Ocean Science and Governance in the Anthropocene 135

Conclusion 166

Notes 175

Acknowledgments 231

Index 233

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