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Earth Encompassed History Of The Environmental Sciences [Paperback]

Peter J Bowler
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Oct. 26 2000 Norton History of Science
An accessible and comprehensive history of discoveries and outlooks that culminated in the modern discipline of environmental studies. This authoritative volume chronicles humanity's long quest to understand its own origins. Peter J. Bowler brilliantly synthesizes discoveries in geography, geology, and evolutionary biology that have brought us to our current knowledge of the fragility and connectedness of life on earth and created the new science of ecology. Bowler adeptly balances a long historical perspective with discussion of specific developments in the major fields relating to the physical and organic environment. He brings to life theoretical debates surrounding the notion of nature as an interconnected whole and addresses the controversial ethical questions raised by the ways we investigate our world and our use of the planet's resources. This book is not only the history of a discipline but also a wide-ranging study of scientific and theoretical innovations and the cultural and professional factors that influence the way scientists explain and understand their observations. 8 pages of illustrations. Originally published as The Norton History of the Environmental Sciences.

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About the Author

Peter J. Bowler is professor of history and philosophy of science at the Queen's University of Belfast.

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The environmental sciences have now become a matter of acute concern. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Readable Survey for the Non-Specialist Nov. 29 2000
Format:Paperback
Peter J. Bowler's The Earth Encompassed is a survey of the environmental sciences from ancient times until the 1960's and 70's, with emphasis on the nineteenth century in geology and evolutionary theories. Mr. Bowler covered much of the same evolutionary ideas in his book, Life's Splendid Drama, concerning the persistence of other ideas in opposition to Darwin's materialistic ideas on evolution. This was a contrast to the usually presented idea of Darwin's immediate triumph. The Earth Encompassed is a better read for the non-specialist (such as myself) before tackling the much tougher book, not the order I took the books unfortunately. The Earth Encompassed is a very good survey that I was able to keep up with without any real background in the environmental sciences. A fascinating aspect of the book was to see the ways in which scientists in the past did not (or could not) separate their science from their beliefs, whether political or religious, and that all science occurs in a social environment of which the scientist will be an integral part. A good beginning book on a complex subject.
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Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Readable Survey for the Non-Specialist Nov. 29 2000
By Ricky Hunter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Peter J. Bowler's The Earth Encompassed is a survey of the environmental sciences from ancient times until the 1960's and 70's, with emphasis on the nineteenth century in geology and evolutionary theories. Mr. Bowler covered much of the same evolutionary ideas in his book, Life's Splendid Drama, concerning the persistence of other ideas in opposition to Darwin's materialistic ideas on evolution. This was a contrast to the usually presented idea of Darwin's immediate triumph. The Earth Encompassed is a better read for the non-specialist (such as myself) before tackling the much tougher book, not the order I took the books unfortunately. The Earth Encompassed is a very good survey that I was able to keep up with without any real background in the environmental sciences. A fascinating aspect of the book was to see the ways in which scientists in the past did not (or could not) separate their science from their beliefs, whether political or religious, and that all science occurs in a social environment of which the scientist will be an integral part. A good beginning book on a complex subject.
2.0 out of 5 stars Badly written. I learned some things, and recalled ... Oct. 19 2014
By George D. Klein, author, Dissensions - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Badly written. I learned some things, and recalled other things from my college days years ago. I was concerned about some mistakes and misconceptions. He got the Vine-Mathews story wrong (lots of omissions), misspelled Xavier Pichon's last name, and called Harry Hess a "geophysicist" when in fact his major contributions before marine geology and plate tectonics was the petrology of ultrabasic rocks. I either met or worked on panels with many of these people (given my "age and experience" as Ronald Reagan would put it). In fact Harry Hess interviewed me for graduate school and networked me to my first geology summer job.

In my view, Bowler completely missed the point and legacy of the Land Grant College system. He called it a state program which is not entirely correct. It is a federal program administered by the states, but it left a legacy not mentioned. The Land Grant system stressed the need for basic research and extension and underscored the importance of the program and its participants to be "honest brokers" in public matters. This was to assure an unbiased assessment and input regarding whatever problem was to be addressed. It kept politics out of the program. That concept was applied to Sea Grant and Space Grant and was written into the enabling legislation for NIH, NSF, etc. I can see where Bowler missed this because as a European, this is unknown and he provided ample examples of how political interference got melded into science and thus the "honest broker" concept never applied there.

Nothing was mentioned about reproducibility of results as being the heart and soul of scientific research which sets it apart from other scholarship.
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