Russian geology and the plate tectonics revolution
Victor E. Khain, Anatoly G. Ryabukhin, 2002. "Russian geology and the plate tectonics revolution", The Earth Inside and Out: Some Major Contributions to Geology in the Twentieth Century, David R. Oldroyd
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The suggestion of the concept of ‘scientific revolution’ by Thomas Kuhn in 1962 was, in itself, a significant event in the history of science, and ‘crucial’ episodes or ‘paradigm shifts’ have come to be of special interest in the history of geology (as in other sciences). The appearance of a new paradigm is commonly associated with attempts by the most talented and well-established practitioners to consolidate or sustain the position of the previously prevailing paradigm. For almost 40 years, global theories in geology have been developing under the influence of mobilist ideas. It is no secret that in Russia the mobilist school initially met with serious opposition, and that even up to the present it has had numerous opponents. However, Western, and especially popular, scientific literature usually exaggerates the intensity of the situation and underestimates the contribution of Russian geologists and geophysicists to the development of mobilism and plate tectonics. The present paper describes some of the debates in Russia concerning mobilist doctrines, the work done in that country in the last three decades of the twentieth century from a mobilist perspective, and various theories that had currency in Russia at the end of that century.
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This volume is a collection of papers on the history of twentieth century geology, of which eight were presented at a Symposium organized by the International Commission on the History of Geological Sciences (INHIGEO) for the International Geological Congress at Rio de Janeiro in 2000.
The book offers a conspectus of selected developments of twentieth century geology. It has grown from largely a field discipline, chiefly concerned with rocks at the Earth's surface, to one that extends to the planet's interior, and to space beyond. New ideas, instruments, and techniques have extended the scope of earth science to the macro and the micro. Theories abound. One paper raises some of the social and political problems faced by modern geology.
The volume is intended as a prolegomenon to some future synthetic understanding of twentieth century earth sciences. It should appeal to a wide range of geoscientists and historians of science.