Oceans have had a mysterious allure for centuries, inspiring
fears, myths, and poetic imaginations. By the early twentieth
century, however, scientists began to see oceans as physical
phenomena that could be understood through mathematical geophysics.
The Fluid Envelope of Our Planet explores the scientific
developments from the early middle ages to the twentieth century
that illuminated the once murky depths of oceanography.
Tracing the transition from descriptive to mathematical analyses
of the oceans, Eric Mills examines sailors' and explorers'
observations of the oceans, the influence of Scandinavian
techniques on German-speaking geographers, and the eventual
development of shared quantitative practices and ideas. A detailed
and beautifully written account of the history of oceanography, The
Fluid Envelope of Our Planet is also an engaging account of the
emergence of a scientific discipline.
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