432 pages, Figs
Oceans have had a mysterious allure for centuries, inspiring fears, myths, and poetic imaginations. By the early twentieth century, however, scientists began to see oceans as physical phenomena that could be understood through mathematical geophysics. This book explores the scientific developments from the early middle ages to the twentieth century that illuminated the once murky depths of oceanography.
Tracing the transition from descriptive to mathematical analyses of the oceans, Eric Mills examines sailors and explorers observations of the oceans, the influence of Scandinavian techniques on German-speaking geographers, and the eventual development of shared quantitative practices and ideas. A detailed and beautifully written account of the history of oceanography, this is also an engaging account of the emergence of a scientific discipline.
'It is a fascinating account of what went before and got us to where we are today in our understanding of the circulation of the ocean and all that this means to marine biology, marine chemistry and the many practical applications of what we now know as physical oceanography.' -- Colin Summerhayes, International Journal of Maritime History: vol22:02:10 'A page-turning history of physical oceanography ... Mills articulates the development of ideas, but he also delves into the background, motivation, and character of the leading actors in what is a compelling story that unfolds page by page ... To all of you interested in the development of ideas in oceanography: please read this book, you will learn, as I did, and in many places you will turn the pages as if it were a thriller.' -- Gwyn Griffiths Ocean Challenge
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