The Earthquake Observers: Disaster Science From Lisbon To Richter

Paperback | July 3, 2014

byDeborah R. Coen

not yet rated|write a review
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.

Pricing and Purchase Info

$37.67

In stock online
Ships free on orders over $25

From the Publisher

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 a...

Deborah R. Coen is associate professor of history at Barnard College, Columbia 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.

other books by Deborah R. Coen

Format:PaperbackDimensions:360 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.9 inPublished:July 3, 2014Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022621205X

ISBN - 13:9780226212050

Look for similar items by category:

Customer Reviews of The Earthquake Observers: Disaster Science From Lisbon To Richter

Reviews

Extra Content

Table of Contents

Introduction
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
Conclusion
Acknowledgments
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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.”