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Tides: A Scientific History

By: David Edgar Cartwright(Author)

292 pages, b/w photos, illustrations

Cambridge University Press

Paperback | Aug 2000 | #107860 | ISBN: 0521797462
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £69.99 $92/€78 approx
Hardback | Dec 1998 | #85659 | ISBN: 0521621453
Out of Print Details

About this book

Tides: A Scientific History, first published in 1998, provides a history of the study of the tides over two millennia, from the primitive ideas of the Ancient Greeks to present sophisticated space-age techniques. Tidal physics has puzzled some of the world's greatest scientists and mathematicians: amongst many others, Galileo, Descartes, Bacon, Kepler, Newton, Bernoulli, Euler, Laplace, Young, Whewell, Airy, Kelvin, G. Darwin, H. Lamb, have all contributed to our understanding of tides. Tides: A Scientific History is amply illustrated with diagrams from historical scientific papers, photographs of artefacts, and portraits of some of the subject's leading protagonists. The history of the tides is in part the history of a broad area of science and the subject provides insight into the progress of science as a whole: Tides: A Scientific History will therefore appeal to all those interested in how scientific ideas develop. It will particularly interest specialists in oceanography, hydrography, geophysics, geodesy, astronomy and navigation.

"David Cartwright [is] a world authority, and gives a magisterial account of how understanding has slowly replaced the mysteries of the tides. Detailed, erudite and clear, the host of direct quotations and reproduction of many contemporary photographs and figures gives this beautifully produced book an enchanting period flavour."
- New Scientist

"[...] a major contribution to the history of the astronomical and geophysical sciences [...] [Cartwright's] description of the observations and mathematical advances that make up the history of the science of tides is clear, rigorous and enjoyable [...] [the] sequence of chapters takes on the rhythm of the history [...] a masterpiece."
- Nature

"[...] a synopsis of developments in the theory, observation and prediction of the tides, flavoured with illustrations from the pages of historical scientific papers, photographs and portraits. [...] [Cartwright] writes with informed scientific judgement, authority and quiet enthusiasm."
- Times Literary Supplement

"David Cartwright has written a wonderful book that combines history and science with scholarship [...] this is an authoritative work [...] quite an achievement."
- Astrophysics and Geophysics

"[...] should appeal to a broad range of readers curious about the evolution of this science."
- Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society

"David Cartwright has written a wonderful book that combines history and science with scholarship [...] this is an authoritative work and a rattling good read, quite an achievement."
- David Gubbins, Astrophysics and Geophysics

"Cartwright has identified a long-standing need for a comprehensive history of tidal research and he has filled that need admirably. He offers us an in-depth history that covers the entire subject from antiquity to modern times [...] Cartwright has written a much-needed academic history of tidal science that will serve historians as an important reference work and starting point for future detailed investigations into individual aspects of tidal research."
- Terry Mahoney, The Observatory



1. Introduction - the overall pattern of enquiry
2. Early ideas and observations
3. What moon maketh a full sea?
4. Towards Newton
5. Newton and the Prize Essayists - the 'Equilibrium' theory
6. Measurements and empirical studies, 1650 1825
7. Laplace and the 19th century hydrodynamics
8. Local analysis and prediction in the 19th century
9. Towards a map of cotidal lines
10. Tides of the Geosphere - the birth of Geophysics
11. Tidal researches between the World Wars
12. 1950 1980 - The impact of automatic computers
13. The impact of instrument technology, 1960 1991
14. The impact of satellite geodesy, 1970 1995
15. Recent advances in miscellaneous topics, and final retrospect


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