Questions tagged [history-of-science]

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Source of an adage about geologists and their various interpreatations of outcrops

I once heard (read? I can't remember) an adage which stated something like this (my recall): Show an outcrop to X geologists, you'll end up with X different interpretations about its formation. (I ...
Jean-Marie Prival's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers

What was this historic object used for?

This object is displayed in an exhibition, but nobody knows what it is. It was part of the estate of a photographer whose father was one of the first meteorologists in Switzerland. EDIT: Adding more ...
Mat D.'s user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer

Did geologists determine the age of rocks and fossils before the advent of modern scientific dating methods?

Did geologists determine the age of rocks and fossils before the advent of modern scientific dating methods such as radiometric, electron spin resonance and thermoluminescence? If they did, does ...
Rick's user avatar
  • 145
5 votes
1 answer

What does a floating mercury barometer look like? How does it work and how is buoyancy used?

This answer to How are barometric pressure measurements traceable over centuries to 100 parts per million accuracy? describes a floating mercury barometer, and mentions that some employed a Vernier ...
uhoh's user avatar
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1 vote
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What are the main hypotheses or postulates that are currently being reviewed and studied in Earth Sciences? [closed]

Very similar to what happens in other sciences, I would like to know, ¿What are the main hypotheses or postulates that are currently being reviewed and studied in Earth Sciences?
Paul Goyes's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers

References for Newton's & Kepler's age of the Earth calculations

"Everybody knows" that Newton and Kepler calculated the age of the Earth. My problem is that, whilst "everybody knows" this, no-one gives a reference that I can read for myself. If,...
Barry Stone's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer

When did people first realize that hurricanes are a particular type of storm system?

To a person living on a beach in the Caribbean or crossing the Atlantic on a sailing ship, it's not obvious whether a commotion in the sky is a hurricane or some other storm system. When did people ...
Jorvon M. Carter's user avatar
16 votes
1 answer

How old is the Earth?

According to most articles I've read online, the estimated age of Earth is 4.5 billion years. Question: How old is the Earth? So I actually want to confirm that this is the case. Maybe there are ...
Kilise's user avatar
  • 263
6 votes
1 answer

How did the terms "acidic" and "basic" come to be associated with $SiO_2$ in igneous rocks?

Students of geology are introduced to in their petrology course, (or used to be), to the terms "acidic", "basic", and the associated term "intermediate" in relation to %$SiО­­­_{2}$ in igneous rocks, ...
My Other Head's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers

How Copernicus figured out that it took 7 parts of water and 1 part earth until the entire Earth was submersed in water [closed]

In chapter 3 of "The Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres" where Copernicus defines "how the Earth forms a single sphere with water", the Edward Rosen translation of the book states this. For they ...
SultySultan's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer

Is the work "The photochemical origin of life" ,by A.Dauvillier, in line of principle still valid today? [closed]

Dauvillier, through his studies, demonstrate that a rise of 2 degrees, of the average temperature of the planet represents a point of no return, beyond which an irreversible process would trigger, ...
Tonix Jesse's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers

Why did it take so long to discover the volcanic nature of mid-oceanic ridges?

I just read this article and was astonished to see the following: Oceanographers stumbled on [the mid-oceanic ridges'] volcanic nature in 1973. What I find surprising is how recent that is. ...
pr1268's user avatar
  • 327
8 votes
0 answers

1950's - 60's Earth Science

I'm writing some lore for a fictional world, which is set in the 50's early 60's roughly. One thing I'd like to bring is a fairly grounded explanation for the creation of the planet and the universe, ...
Magic Marbles's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers

Are old geophysics textbooks useful?

I have had much success with old textbooks in mathematics. Generally, for any branch of mathematics that I (as a non-mathematician) would like to learn or re-learn, I can buy a classic textbook from ...
kingledion's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer

How did Earth's atmospheric layers get their names?

How are atmospheric layers named once they have been discovered?
Montgomery 'monty' Jones's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers

Is it physically possible to see mountains from 500 km away?

Quoting from lecture notes of Andrew young at San Diego State University: For less extreme, but very reliable, observations, consider some listed by Commander C. L. Garner of the Coast and Geodetic ...
user avatar
7 votes
1 answer

Newton's estimate of the age of the Earth

I was reading many articles about estimates of the age of the Earth throughout the ages. I was dumbfounded when I read that Newton, arguably one of the greatest scientists ever to have ‘calculated’ ...
Lucian09474's user avatar
  • 1,952
5 votes
1 answer

What is the earliest tropical cyclone in record?

The question is simple: what is the earliest tropical cyclone (hurricane or typhoon) described in the historical record?
arkaia's user avatar
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24 votes
0 answers

How reliable were early measurements of palaeomagnetic directions?

The methodology and equipment for palaeomagnetic studies in the 1960s and 1970s was often rather primitive by today's standards. For example, Doell and Cox (1967) imply that the standard procedure for ...
Pont's user avatar
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26 votes
5 answers

Why was the initial theory of plate tectonics so controversial?

I have been set the task of researching plate tectonics, specifically: "Why was its discovery so important in its time and controversial?" I do not need a long answer, although more detail is always ...
Bob Eret's user avatar
  • 371