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Landmarks in the History of Science » Geoscience » Extremely rare - The Age of the Earth - 1st edition, 1913, Harper & Brothers, London - New York, Harper's Library of Living Thought


Extremely rare - The Age of the Earth - 1st edition, 1913, Harper & Brothers, London - New York, Harper's Library of Living Thought

Autor: Arthur Holmes
Cod: 6019
In stoc: Nu
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Detalii produs

1st edition, extremely rare, even for the public libraries, of this famous and highly influential book.
1st Arthur Holmes’ monograph which was produced when the author was only 23 years.

‘’A brilliant contribution to resolving the controversy over the age of the Earth.’’ (Encyclopaedia Britannica)

Holmes ‘’endeavoured to give as full an account as possible of the prevailing methods for measuring geological time, in an attempt to explain the 'extraordinary discrepancy’ of the conclusions drawn from the two most prominent methods of dealing with it, namely the age of the Earth derived from geological methods, as opposed to the age determined by radioactivity.’’ (Cherry  Lewis, 2001)

The pre­face is dramatically opened and the style is almost journalistic, uncommon for science books of any time:

“It is perhaps a little indelicate to ask of our Mother Earth her age, but Science acknowledges no shame and from time to time has boldly attempted to wrest from her a secret which is proverbially well guarded.” (p. ix)

 ''In the work he gave the most complete scientific account yet of Earth’s entire history based on radiometric dating, starting from the Archean and stretching up through the relatively recent Pleistocene. And he reiterated the ages of the oldest-known rocks as about 1.6 billion years, far older than most geologists of the time typically conceded. These bold statements, along with a style of writing have made The Age of the Earth a milestone not just for Holmes but for geology.

Holmes’ main intent with The Age of the Earth was evidently to introduce the issue to a broad audience — the book was published by Harper and Brothers, not a strictly scientific imprint — and to lay out a case for radiometric dating as the way forward for accurately gauging Earth’s history. And indeed, it is recognized as the first attempt to do so, at least with such thoroughness and clarity. 
 
Throughout his career, Holmes was at the forefront of research and innovation in his field. He continually updated and published new geologic timescales, and he revised his estimate of Earth’s age several times, from the initial 1.6 billion years to 3 billion and from 3.35 billion years at 4.5 billion years.’' (Timothy Oleson, Earth Magazine, March 2013)
 
In the same book, he contrasted the finite age of the Earth with the supposedly infinite age of the universe. Holmes subscribed at the time to an eternal, ever-evolving cyclic universe:
‘’If the development of the universe be everywhere towards equalisation of temperature implied by the laws of thermodynamics, the question arises: why in the abundance of time past, has this melancholy state not already overtaken us?… In the universe nothing is lost, and perhaps its perfect mechanism is the solitary and only possible example of perpetual motion. In its cyclic development we may find the secret of its eternity and discover that the dismal theory of thermal extinction is, after all, but a limited truth.’’ (p. 121)
 
Holmes received many awards and medals from international geological surveys and societies including; the Murchison Medal (1940) and Wollaston Medal (1956) awarded by the Geological Society of London; the Penrose Medal (1956) awarded by the Geological Society of America; and the highly prestigious Vetlesen Prize (1964).
 
The Vetlesen Prize was established in 1959 by the G. Unger Vetlesen Foundation, and was designed to be the Nobel Prize of the Earth Sciences, awarded for 'scientific achievement resulting in a clearer understanding of the Earth, its history, or its relations to the universe'.
 
Harper & Brothers, London - New York, 1st edition, March 1913.
pp. xii, 195, [1] p., [4] l. of plates (inc. front.) : illus., diagrs.
pp. 184-189 Bibliography, pp. 191-196 Index
Foolscap octavo (170 mm x 108 mm). Not ex-libr.
Bounded in original cloth; very rare copy; fine condition +
 

The codes 6017, 6018, 6019 and 6021 represent the same item.
 
Price: $ 0.00