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Perils of a Restless Planet

Perils of a Restless Planet
Scientific Perspectives on Natural Disasters

  • Date Published: July 1999
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521654883

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  • From epidemics and earthquakes to tornadoes and tidal waves, the overwhelming power of Nature never ceases to instil humankind with both terror and awe. As natural disasters continue to claim human lives and wreak havoc in their wake, Perils of a Restless Planet examines our attempts to understand and anticipate such phenomena. Drawing upon case studies from ancient to present times, this book focuses on scientific inquiry, technological innovation and public policy to provide a lucid and riveting look at natural disasters. While shedding light on the elusive quality of Nature and the limits scientific study and laboratory replication impose on our understanding of her mercurial ways, the author extrapolates from the history of science to suggest how we may someday learn to warn and protect vulnerable populations on our small and tempestuous planet. Anyone interested in the power of Nature will find this book compelling and informative.

    • Hardback recieved excellent reviews
    • Case studies of death and destruction are linked to the underlying scientific questions
    • ' … a fascinating trawl through history's natural mishaps … both entertaining and informative, full of little-known and very amusing facts.' The Guardian
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… [a] perceptive and readable book … [the author] has achieved a seamless combination of useful and unusual examples, placed in a scientific framework that makes sense of the apparent chaos … in Perils of a Restless Planet he presents a polished summary of the basic science necessary to understand the Earth's catastrophic upheavals … this book would be a valuable teaching aid, both for potential scientists and those who need to know about science from another perspective ... overall, this book is such a good read … Snippets of information and awesome facts and figures thread through this book … a valuable source for those who want to catch the imagination of children … For the rest of us, this is a readable way to ponder how increasing numbers of us can continue to live on such a restless planet.' Sue Bowler, New Scientist

    ' … a fascinating trawl through history's natural mishaps … both entertaining and informative, full of little-known and very amusing facts.' Paul Brown, The Guardian

    ' … Zebrowski brings a physical science perspective to bear on the problem of natural disasters, and the result is a provocative, energetic and readable account of the 'perils' of a restless planet … as a stimuylating and intelligent … discussion of the scientific basis of natural disasters there is much in here to be recommended.' David Pyle, Geology Magazine

    'Perils of a Restless Planet is exciting reading. It would be superb for a lower-division course emphasizing the methodologies of science and engineering the importance of humility in the face of natural powers and the value of good design.' Physics Today

    '… written in an easy yet informative style … [this book] provides an original insight into natural disasters and their causes. It will be a refreshing read for hazard scientists and students, as well as the world at large.' Bill McGuire, Nature

    'This is a very readable and enjoyable book. Written by a Pennsylvanian physics professor, it outlines the 'awesome' power of Earth's natural phenomena, particularly those which affect human existence. ... What distinguishes this book from many another in the 'disaster and hazards' genre is that it integrates, quite seamlessly, discussions about the philosophy and methodology of scientific enquiry with concise explanations of the key scientific ideas (e.g. forces, naturual selection, waves theory) needed to underpin proper attempts to answer the how?, why?, what effect?, what can we do?, can we predict?, will we ever know? questions. This book will give many readers fresh insights into science and, furthermore, will indicate how the results of experiments taught in the school/college lab can be translated with real meaning to take on some of the challenges of the natural environment. Thoroughly recommended to all.' Duncan Hawley, School Science Review

    'Perils of a Restless Planet is exciting reading. It would be superb for a lower-division course emphasizing the methodologies of science and engineering, the importance of humility in the face of natural powers and the value of good design.' Physics Today

    'On All Saints' Day in 1775, most residents of Lisbon, Portugal, were in church; little did they know they were being read their last rites. The first of three tsunamis hit at 9:40 am. Fire then engulfed the city, sparing survivors the pestilence sure to accompany the resulting 40,000 or so dead bodies. Zebrowski revisits some of the greatest horrors engendered by Mother Nature over the last thousand years and explains how they can be predicted and how they work.' Science News

    '… makes for not only the gripping reading experience of a first-class mystery novel, but also provides a compelling account of the status of the species Homo Sapiens on the threshold of a new and very uncertain millennium.' Choice

    ' … an extremely lucid description and thoughtful analysis of what we face living on a restless planet'. Endeavour

    'It is an unexpected pleasure to get more than you pay for. Ernest Zebrowski, Jr's splendid book Perils of a Restless Planet provides just such a rare delight. The volume includes volcanoes, plagues, earthquakes, asteroids, tsunamis, tornadoes, and more … He seems to be that rarity, a careful and precise scientist who can tell a good story.' Science Books and Films

    'This is a very well-written, well-illustrated and fascinating book.' Ignaz Vergeiner, Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics

    'This book will give many readers fresh insights into science and furthermore will indicate how the results of experiments taught in the school/college lab. can be translated with real meaning to take on some of the challenges of the natural environment. Thoroughly recommended to all.' Teaching Earth Sciences

    'Perils is a fascinating read about the science of natural disasters that strike randomly and often with grotesque human toll.' Jearl Walker, Cleveland State University

    'A wide-ranging, gratifyingly lively investigation into the more violent ravings of Mother Nature … it is nature's fury that makes this book vibrate.' Kirkus Reviews

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 1999
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521654883
    • length: 324 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 156 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.46kg
    • contains: 67 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Preface
    1. Life on the Earth's crust
    2. The evolution of science
    3. Hazards of shelter
    4. Death and life
    5. Restless seas
    6. Earth in upheaval
    7. Volcanoes and asteroid impacts
    8. Deadly winds
    9. Science and irreproducible phenomena
    Appendices
    Index.

  • Author

    Ernest Zebrowski, Jr, Pennsylvania College of Technology

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