The Earthquake Observers: Disaster Science From Lisbon To Richter by Deborah R. CoenThe Earthquake Observers: Disaster Science From Lisbon To Richter by Deborah R. Coen

The Earthquake Observers: Disaster Science From Lisbon To Richter

byDeborah R. Coen

Paperback | July 3, 2014

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Earthquakes have taught us much about our planet’s hidden structure and the forces that have shaped it. This knowledge rests not only on the recordings of seismographs but also on the observations of eyewitnesses to destruction. During the nineteenth century, a scientific description of an earthquake was built of stories—stories from as many people in as many situations as possible. Sometimes their stories told of fear and devastation, sometimes of wonder and excitement.
In The Earthquake Observers, Deborah R. Coen acquaints readers not only with the century’s most eloquent seismic commentators, including Alexander von Humboldt, Charles Darwin, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Karl Kraus, Ernst Mach, John Muir, and William James, but also with countless other citizen-observers, many of whom were women. Coen explains how observing networks transformed an instant of panic and confusion into a field for scientific research, turning earthquakes into natural experiments at the nexus of the physical and human sciences. Seismology abandoned this project of citizen science with the introduction of the Richter Scale in the 1930s, only to revive it in the twenty-first century in the face of new hazards and uncertainties. The Earthquake Observers tells the history of this interrupted dialogue between scientists and citizens about living with environmental risk.
Deborah R. Coen is professor of history at Yale University. She is the author of Vienna in the Age of Uncertainty: Science, Liberalism, and Private Life, also published by the University of Chicago Press.
Title:The Earthquake Observers: Disaster Science From Lisbon To RichterFormat:PaperbackDimensions:360 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:July 3, 2014Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022621205X

ISBN - 13:9780226212050

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Table of Contents

One     The Human Seismograph
Two     The Planet in the Village: Comrie, Scotland, 1788–1897
Three   News of the Apocalypse
Four     The Tongues of Seismology: Switzerland, 1855–1912
Five      Geographies of Hazard
Six        The Moment of Danger
Seven   Fault Lines and Borderlands: Imperial Austria, 1880–1914
Eight    What Is the Earth?
Nine     The Youngest Land: California, 1853–1906
Ten      A True Measure of Violence: California, 1906–1935

Editorial Reviews

The Earthquake Observers is more than just a history of seismology: it tells the story of how ideas about earthquakes influenced human culture in the modern era. Deborah R. Coen is as entertaining as she is erudite. This fascinating study should appeal to a wide readership; strongly recommended.”