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Landmarks in the History of Science » Geoscience » Vom wachsenden Erdball / [The Expanding Earth] - Inscribed by author; extremely rare, Berlin, 1933

Vom wachsenden Erdball / [The Expanding Earth] - Inscribed by author; extremely rare, Berlin, 1933

Autor: Ott Christoph Hilgenberg
Cod: 6947
In stoc: Da

Detalii produs S. Warren Carey, the famous Australian geologist learned the German language to study
''Vom wachsenden Erdball'' - the classical paper of Expanding Earth Theory:

''Carey frankly admitted belated inheritance of some Egyed and Hilgenberg ideas. He did not know about Hilgenberg’s book 'Vom wachsenden Erdball’ before the 1956 symposium [The Continental Drift Symposium of 1956, Hobart]. This book arrived in 1958 when the proceedings were being printed. He found a page to show and quote the German series of paleogeographical globes and a photo from Hilgenberg, 1933, is reproduced on p. 300 of the proceedings. Later Carey studied Hilgenberg’s work in depth and confessed to me that he had learned the German language for this purpose''.

       Giancarlo Scalera: Samuel Warren Carey, A Commemorative Memoir

''The bud-and-petal analogy [with the expanding earth], which had been developed fully by Hilgenberg (1933, p. 29) is useful because it incorporates the earth’s hemihedral asymmetry, the antipodal relation of continents and oceans, the greater separation of the southern continents, and the northward migration of all continents with respect to the southward-moving parallels of latitude as the southern hemisphere (the opening calyx) expanded more rapidly than the northern.’'

       S. Warren Carey, The Expanding Earth, p. 30

''The importance of Hilgenberg lies in the fact that he marks the beginning of the integration of various scientific disciplines from Physics to Paleontology and Paleomagnetism, in support of a universal tectonic theory, and that he made paleogeographic reconstructions on globes with smaller radii than the present one. All those who have worked or are working with one of the versions of expansion tectonics owe him enormous gratitude for his inspiration and for the scientific and moral lesson of fifty years spent in unflagging defence of his ideas. [...]

Hilgenberg's ideas on variations in the Earth’s volume were included among others which, as we saw, had been considered too advanced, in an academic world that was only beginning to discuss continental drift, contenting themselves with the assumption that the Earth’s radius was a constant. For the academicians the idea was, to be sure, serious, but still based on little data, and therefore to be submitted to subsequent verification. There was another disadvantage for the theory of expansion coming from Berlin. It concerned not only the Earth, but also claimed to be wider in scope than that of Wegener, assuming as it did that there was a cosmological agent that affected the dimensions of all planets and heavenly bodies. Such a theory was bound not to find support in contemporary physical theories. Basic physics had entered that exciting period of the discovery of atomic and quantum phenomena, the new Promethean fire and the renewed concepts of space and time that had originated with relativity (special and general).
This enthusiasm moved more and more towards reductionism, and became all absorbing in physics research. It led to the extraordinary technical progress that we enjoy today, to the attempt to describe all phenomena by the quantization method, as well as those (e.g. gravity field) had heretofore eluded such a method, but also to underestimation of the role of ‘quantum paradoxes’ in the revelation of our poor knowledge of the world (the wave-corpuscle dualism, non-locality, Shrödinger’s cat – in the writer’s opinion they all had a common origin) and otherwise, for political and military reasons. Among other things, there was also an ever greater tendency towards specialisation and pragmatism in university General Physics courses. There was less space for general courses in Earth physics and astronomy. As a result, graduates were produced to be used in nuclear-physics laboratories, or as mediocre secondary-school teachers expropriated from History of Sciences, the Sky, or the Earth. [...]

It is important to note that Hilgenberg, in his research on expansion, starts off not with a work on geology, tectonics or global geodynamics but in the spirit of a physicist. The first question he asked himself was the wherefore of gravitation and the expansion of planets. Only later, once these physical principles had been established, did he pursue for his entire life, the question of how expansion had manifested itself, seeking to set forth in detail the progression of palaeogeographic reconstructions that seem so marvellous today. The method on which they are based is still totally modern, bringing together, as it does, data from many disciplines. [...]

Hilgenberg’s purpose was to reassemble all the fragments of Pangea into a coherent mosaic, so as not to leave more space for the oceans. He followed the classic reconstruction of Wegener for the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, albeit with variable radii, keeping India in contact with Asia, as Wegener had done, and in contrast with modern plate tectonics (an easier task on an expanding Earth). The solution proposed for the complete closing of the Pacific completely departs from that of Wegener as far as the Australia-Antarctica block is concerned, however. The configuration chosen puts Antarctica side by side with the coasts of Chile and the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula wedged between Central America and Peru, parallel to the Californian Peninsula. Australia was in the polar position with its present south-western coast alongside Tierra del Fuego. The Asian Far East, Indochina, reached back to the point of touching the north-western coasts of Australia. [...]

Hilgenberg concluded that an immense counter-clockwise megashear crossed Laurentia from northwest to southeast, hence the North American continent appears with its western part displaced towards the northwest in the Paleozoic, on an earth 60% per cent of its present size, without large oceans or deep seas. [...]

The expansion of the planet then conveyed the continents to their present positions. Even though this solution for the Pacific is not in agreement with the most up-to-date paleomagnetic data, it is still a valid attempt, the first of its kind, to transpose geographic outlines among globes of different radii in a rigorous way. Hilgenberg moved paper outlines of continents from one globe to a smaller one, eliminating some thin radial slices to compensate for the positive variation in curvature: this was the equivalent of adopting equidistant azimuthal projection with the centroid of the continent as the centre of projection.

The proposals of the Berliner to explain various regional tectonic phenomena, such as the formation of rifts and grabens, the overall state of the outer crust, the overlapping and the sinking of the edges of continents, are equally interesting. An essential role in explaining these phenomena is played by mechanical forces that a spherical continental cap undergoes as it attempts to readjust to a flattening surface curvature.''

       Giancarlo Scalera - Thomas Braun: Ott Christoph Hilgenberg in Twentieth-Century Geophysics, 2015

Vom wachsenden Erdball, 1933, Berlin, extremely rare copy, Verlag O. Hilgenberg
p. 56, 2 maps (one fold.) : 28 figs; 21cm; printed covers; fine condition.
Inscribed by Hilgenberg on the title page in pencil: ''Mitte November 45''. (See the
signature of the author, also in pencil, here: kriegswichtig_luftkriegsakademie.pdf p. 66).

Personal copy of O. C. Hilgenberg, 
We know only three private copies of this booklet:
1. Prof. Karl-Heinz Jacob's copy
2. The copy received by S. Warren Carey in 1958, and returned to Hilgenberg, because Carey used in 1982 a copy in facsimile; see:
3. Our copy.

Price: $ 150,000.00