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Classic Science Papers – a new blog carnival?

June 2, 2008

In case you missed it, the physics blog Skulls in the Stars challenged other science bloggers to put together an in-depth post about an old (pre-1950ish) paper in their field.

There are 25 entries that span several scientific disciplines. Three from the geoblogosphere, including me, are part of that group:

  • Oldies but Goodies: A Report on the Geology of the High Plateaus of Utah (1880), by Tuff Cookie at Magma Cum Laude
  • Another oldie but goodie… (1914), by coconino at Ordinary High Water Mark
  • Theoretical Stratigraphy #2: Barrell and the Rhythms of Geologic Time (1917), by BrianR at Clastic Detritus
  • Check out the entire collection … very cool. There is talk of this perhaps becoming its own science blog carnival, which sounds like a great idea. It could also be a fun Accretionary Wedge topic at some point.


    8 Comments leave one →
    1. June 2, 2008 8:56 am

      The classic plate tectonics papers would be worth blogging about for geologists, too. (Vine and Matthews, maybe?) For geology, pre-1950 limits the papers to ones that pre-date our big scientific revolution. That’s not to say that the earlier papers aren’t important, but that’s like telling physicists that they have to blog about papers that pre-date relativity and quantum mechanics, or telling biologists that they’re restricted to papers from before Darwin.

    2. June 2, 2008 9:20 am

      “For geology, pre-1950 limits the papers to ones that pre-date our big scientific revolution.”

      That’s certainly true … but, at the same time, that is exactly the value of doing it. Every time I go into old papers, I find nuggets of wisdom that are very relevant to what we think we know now.

    3. June 2, 2008 10:48 pm

      Coincidentally, I’ve been reading this book over the past couple of weeks with a view to writing something about the history of plate tectonics, and I was thinking that writing about the classic papers might be a very interesting project. But perhaps it would make a good Accretionary Wedge idea – everyone takes one of the ‘classic’ plate tectonic papers and explains it’s importance.

    4. June 3, 2008 6:58 am

      Chris … I haven’t read that book, but it is on my list. It is in my house waiting in a long line of books I’m supposed to get to!

      Blogging about the papers that came out during the plate tectonic revolution would be a great Accretionary Wedge … I’ve been meaning to spend some time looking at the papers that discuss advancements of sea-floor mapping within that context. If you’d like to spearhead that, comment in the “Who’s hosting the next Accretionary Wedge” page on that site.

    5. June 3, 2008 7:16 am

      There are also a lot of great early seismology papers that could be fun to write about…

    6. June 4, 2008 11:26 am

      Thanks for the pointer to that classics. I’d like to add another geologic paper that hid in the Physics section: Henry Darcy’s paper on the fountains of Dijon (1856).

    7. June 4, 2008 5:19 pm

      I recommend the Plate Tectonics book that Chris is reading – it’s fascinating. (And it’s interesting to read such different perspectives on how science should be done.)


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