John Tuzo Wilson: a Canadian who revolutionized Earth Sciences

in science on (#3GZ)
story imageThe Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences (CJES) has just released its 50th anniversary special issue in honour of John Tuzo Wilson (1908-1993). Tuzo Wilson is one of the key historical figures in the dramatic change that swept the earth science community in the 1960s, when Wegener's previously-vilified theory of continental drift became widely-accepted in the form of plate tectonics .

Feature articles in the 50th issue of CJES review Wilson's scientific contributions and point to new directions in global earth science based on Wilson's legacy, but of particular interest may be Paul Hoffman's description of how Tuzo Wilson was able to discard his anti-plate tectonic model of Earth history, that he had held dear for more than 20 years, and accept the new theory of plate tectonics when it best fit the data. What does it take for scientists' to change their fundamental understanding of nature, anyway?

Amazing how long 'Continental Drift' was considered a crackpot theory (Score: 3, Interesting)

by on 2014-03-25 22:51 (#TT)

By contrast, Darwin's 'Origin of the Species' apparently won nearly immediate and widespread acceptance throughout the scientific community; the deniers were in the minority. But the Continental Drift guys who, e.g. pointed out striking similarities in species between South America and Africa, were pariahs until Tuzo Wilson and his colleagues worked out the geologic details.
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