From terrestrial magnetism to geomagnetism: disciplinary transformation in the twentieth century
Gregory A. Good, 2002. "From terrestrial magnetism to geomagnetism: disciplinary transformation in the twentieth century", The Earth Inside and Out: Some Major Contributions to Geology in the Twentieth Century, David R. Oldroyd
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In 1900, researchers interested in Earth's magnetism generally proclaimed all facets of magnetic phenomena to be within their purview. Most researchers in this field referred to themselves as ‘magneticians’ first and physicists or geologists second. After World War II, specialization increased. A number of distinct research areas appeared over several decades: the geodynamo theory and the study of the core—mantle boundary; palaeo-magnetism and its growing connection to geology; the production of induced fields in Earth's crust; and, among others, the electromagnetic phenomena of the upper atmosphere and near space. The former unity dissolved and the field fragmented. One result of fragmentation has been a loss of memory and a consequent misinterpretation of an important part of the history of geoscience. This paper relates the challenges of recovering a history obscured by later events.
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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.