The end of classical meteorology, c. 1800
Published:January 01, 2006
Vladimir Jankovic, 2006. "The end of classical meteorology, c. 1800", The History of Meteoritics and Key Meteorite Collections: Fireballs, Falls and Finds, G.J.H. McCall, A.J. Bowden, R.J. Howarth
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The article argues that the classical (Aristotelian) understanding of meteorology underwent a profound change by the late 18th century. As a result of a series of empirical, theoretical, methodological and institutional changes in the European earth sciences, meteorology ceased to be understood as a natural philosophy of ‘meteors’ and was more closely associated with the laws of the gaseous atmosphere. This shift had a direct effect on how one understood the origins of ‘meteors’ and their relationship with the phenomena of the weather.
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The History of Meteoritics and Key Meteorite Collections: Fireballs, Falls and Finds
This Special Publication has 24 papers with an international authorship, and is prefaced by an introductory overview which presents highlights in the field. The first section covers the acceptance by science of the reality of the falls of rock and metal from the sky, an account that takes the reader from BCE (before common era) to the nineteenth century. The second section details some of the world's most important collections in museums - their origins and development. The Smithsonian chapter also covers the astonishingly numerous finds in the cold desert of Antarctica by American search parties. There are also contributions covering the finds by Japanese parties in the Yamato mountains and the equally remarkable discoveries in the hot deserts of Australia, North Africa, Oman and the USA. The other seven chapters take the reader through the revolution in scientific research on meteoritics in the later part of the twentieth century, including terrestrial impact cratering and extraordinary showers of glass from the sky; tektites, now known to be Earth-impact-sourced. Finally, the short epilogue looks to the future.
The History of Meteoritics and Key Meteorite Collections should appeal to historians of science, meteoriticists, geologists, astronomers, curators and the general reader with an interest in science.