The Story of the Earth in 25 Rocks: Tales of Important Geological Puzzles and the People Who Solved Them

Donald R. Prothero. Columbia Univ., $35 (352p) ISBN 978-0-231-18260-7
As he has done so well in the past, Prothero (The Story of Life in 25 Fossils), professor of geology at Cal Poly Pomona, uses the geological record to answer many important questions about planet Earth. In 25 short and enjoyable chapters, he explores issues that have been at the center of geology since long before geology was a science. For example, he discusses the age of the Earth, the nature of continental drift, the characteristics of early life, and the cause of the demise of the dinosaurs, among many other topics. Prothero provides thought-provoking historical context for each subject and presents information about the individuals responsible for advancing geological knowledge—including James Hutton, Charles Lyell, and Alfred Wegener—while explaining the underlying science in an accessible manner. Beyond the specifics of each chapter, Prothero makes three important points: basic geological information can play an essential role in environmentalism, pure research is critical to advancing human civilization, and scientific disagreement often plays a central role in shaping theories and interpreting data. In the tradition of the best popular science writing, Prothero elucidates the latest findings of scientists while demonstrating their broader implications and sharing the excitement of scientific endeavor. Illus. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/23/2017
Release date: 01/01/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 978-0-231-54427-6
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-0-231-18261-4
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