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Scientists and the Sea 1650-1900: A Study of Marine Science

By: Margaret Deacon

459 pages, Figs, maps


Hardback | Dec 1997 | Edition: 2 | #70779 | ISBN: 1859283527
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £80.00 $103/€88 approx

About this book

Scientists and the Sea is a history of how the scientific study of the sea has developed over a period of nearly 2500 years. Beginning with the speculations of Greek philosophers it carries the story forward, showing how curiosity about the ocean appeared in many different forms and locations before, in the late 19th century, the first deep-sea researches heralded the foundation of the science known today as oceanography. Originally published in 1971, this book has never been superseded as the most comprehensive and wide-ranging treatment of the emergence of marine science within the western scientific tradition. After three introductory chapters dealing with knowledge up to the Renaissance, the main part of the work shows how pioneers of scientific observation at sea during the 17th and 18th centuries made notable discoveries, but that it was not until the middle of the 19th century when, aided by the advance of technology, scientists were able to undertake the first explorations of the ocean depths. This second edition contains a new introduction and bibliography.


Part 1 The background to the 17th century movement: the ancient world; the Middle Ages; the Renaissance. Part 2 Marine science in the 17th century: the 17th century movement towards a science of the sea; theories and observations of tides; marine science in the works of Robert Boyle; the currents in the Strait of Gibraltar; Robert Hooke and the vanishing harvest. Part 3 An age of philosophy and curious navigation: reawakening interest in the sea, 1700-1800; widening horizons - the last quarter of the 18th century; marine science in the early 19th century - a period of growth. Part 4 The unsatisfied ocean: wild-meeting oceans - the study of tides; the threshold of the deep ocean; the magnificent generalization; the voyage of HMS "Challenger"; Edinburgh and the growth of oceanography at the end of the 19th century; appendix 1 - propositions of some experiments to be made by the Earl of Sandwich in his present voyage; appendix 2 - experiments made by Captain Robert Holmes on 2 and 30 May 1663; Appendix 3 - other inquiries concerning the sea.

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