Perils of a Restless Planet: Scientific Perspectives on Natural Disasters

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9780521573740: Perils of a Restless Planet: Scientific Perspectives on Natural Disasters
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From epidemics and earthquakes to tornados and tidal waves, the overwhelming power of nature never ceases to instill humankind with both terror and awe. As natural disasters continue to claim human lives and leave destruction in their wake, Perils of a Restless Planet examines our attempts to understand and anticipate such phenomena. Now available in paperback, this highly acclaimed book draws on actual events from ancient to present times. Coverage focuses on basic scientific inquiry, technological innovation and, ultimately, public policy to provide a lucid and riveting look at the natural events that have shaped our view of natural disasters. While shedding light on the elusive quality of nature's intermittent tantrums and the limits scientific study and laboratory replication impose on our understanding of its mercurial ways, the author extrapolates from the history of science to suggest how we may someday learn to warn and protect the vulnerable populations on our small, tempestuous planet. Compelling and informative, this book will find readers both in and outside of the scientific community.

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The Johnstown flood of 1889, the Lisbon earthquake of 1755, the pan-European bubonic plague epidemic of 1347-51--all of these events left deep impressions on contemporary history and are remembered even today. We have yet to gauge the effects of more modern disasters--for instance, the Kobe earthquake of 1995, which killed 5,000 Japanese--but we recognize their significance. Many scientists are now engaged in developing means to forecast natural disasters more accurately and to put in place more effective safety measures. Ernest Zebrowski tracks their work through history, noting that even the most current of ideas about, say, the dangers of wind shear will almost certainly be proven obsolete in the years to come. Students of technological history, geology, and climatology will find his work stimulating, and general readers will find it highly accessible.

Book Description:

Throughout history, society has sought to make sense of the seemingly random natural disasters that claim human lives. Drawing upon case studies Perils of a Restless Planet examines our current and past attempts to understand and anticipate these natural phenomenon. Focusing on basic scientific inquiry, technological innovation and, ultimately, public policy, this is an accessible and riveting look at the natural events that have shaped our view of natural disasters. This compelling and informative text is ideal for historians, scientists, and the intellectually curious.

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9780521654883: Perils of a Restless Planet: Scientific Perspectives on Natural Disasters

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ISBN 10:  0521654882 ISBN 13:  9780521654883
Publisher: Cambridge University Press, 1999
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