The great quake debate : the crusader, the skeptic, and the rise of modern seismology

2020, Book , x, 317 pages :
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Summary/Review: "This book explores the famous clash between two high-profile scientists over a consequential question: Is California earthquake country? Set in the f more...
Summary/Review: "This book explores the famous clash between two high-profile scientists over a consequential question: Is California earthquake country? Set in the first half of the twentieth century, when seismology was still in in its infancy, this debate had life-or-death consequences for the millions of people migrating west. After the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, people wanted to know: Is it safe? And how can we best prepare for the next big one? Susan Hough focuses on the renowned geologist Bailey Willis as a crusading protagonist, and Robert T. Hill as the man who played his nemesis. Working in the tradition of Simon Winchester, who uses stories about lost historical figures to explore complex questions of science and society, Hough uses entwined biographies of the two men to offer a lively and accessible account of how step-by-step we learned about earthquakes-and the ways that politics and financial interests hindered that conversation. Embedded in this debate are two epic earthquakes: the 1925 Santa Barbara earthquake and the 1933 Long Beach earthquake. Both were responsible for scores of deaths, an incredible amount of damage, and both were turning points for our scientific knowledge and for mainstreaming the idea of earthquake safety. While offering readers a fascinating overview of earthquake science, The Great Quake Debate sheds light on enduring questions surrounding the environmental hazards on our dynamic planet. What challenges face scientists bearing bad news in the public arena? How do we balance risk and the need to sustain communities and cities? And are we ready for the next big one?"--
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