Category Archives: Science

A.R. Wallace on Geology, Great Glaciers and the Speed of Evolution

When Charles Darwin published “The Origin of Species” in November 1859 geologists were still discussing the age of the earth. Deep time was an essential prerequisite to explain the recent biodiversity by gradual and slow changes in the remote past.  … Continue reading

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Granite Wars – Episode I: Fire & Water

In 1820 the Italian engineer Count Giuseppe Marzari-Pencati (1779-1836) published a short article about the stratigraphic succession found near the small village of Predazzo. At the “Canzoccoli” -outcrop Pencati observed a grayish granitic rock overlying white marbles. What today is … Continue reading

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How Forensic Seismology investigates into Ship-Disasters, Terrorist-Attacks and secret Nuclear Tests

The collision of the cruise ship “Costa Concordia” on January 13, 2012 was recorded by the seismograph station “Monte Argentario“, situated on the Italian mainland. From the eyewitness testimony and the Automatic System of the ship the time of collision … Continue reading

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The Earth-like Mars

Mars – a distant, extraterrestrial world, but it shares some surprising similarities with Earth. The rotation period is almost the same with 24 hours, 39 minutes and 21,67 seconds (as measured by astronomer William Herschel in 1777-1783), the planet possess … Continue reading

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Cutting a dash: men of science as ‘historical hotties’

I had a bit of fun this week tweeting links to portraits of some 19th-century men of science, suggesting that they were ’19thC scientific hotties’. Such a phrase is not, I should add, my usual vocabulary, and nor is a … Continue reading

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Inside a Herbarium (finding history amongst the science)

This week I had the pleasure of seeing inside the Herbarium at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh. I have, very often and from earliest childhood, enjoyed walking in the gardens and hothouses, but this was the first time I … Continue reading

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Geologizing Women into the Field!

Geology usually requires outdoor activities in remote, inhospitable, hazardous or dirty environments. At the beginning of the 19th century it was hard to imagine that a gentleman would engage voluntarily in such an activity and it’s seemed even less comprehensible … Continue reading

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