Like the name ‘dinosaur’ coined by Richard Owen, the term ‘plate tectonics’ is set to become common coinage even beyond the confines of science. The story of how the plate tectonic revolution in the Earth Sciences came about is the most interesting and important in this cluster of sciences. And if we must indulge in the present ranking mania, it must rank high as one of the most important new theories in contemporary science. Just how the necessary data was assembled from many different areas of investigation is particularly intriguing.

The editors Naomi Oreskes’ and Homer Le Grand’s preface sets...

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