Probably the most elaborate and eclectic enterprise yet undertaken cooperatively by scientists was the recent International...



Probably the most elaborate and eclectic enterprise yet undertaken cooperatively by scientists was the recent International Geophysical Year, (largely '57-'58), when men of 67 nations at differing vantage points observed the earth simultaneously, pooled their resources, standardized their techniques and captured whatever global phenomena presented itself. According to one of the key participants, Canadian professor Tuzo Wilson, has documented in his book the whole affair warmly, wittily and chattily, deductively. But it must also be advised, at least for the groundling, nothing really earth-shaking comes across, possibly because the efforts involved were, and still are, part of a step-by-step projected breakthrough on many fronts, the exact nature of which lie shrouded in fancy and/or secrecy. At any rate, Wilson travelled every corner of our planet, investigating both the psychological tenor of countries and the experiments being conducted in their isolated bases, field missions et al. He conversed with Colorado geologists, peeked into the Rockies' solar observatory, watched sun spots and magnetic fields, visited bureaucratically bizarre Romania at the time of the first Sputnik. He gives a blow-by-blow rehash of USA's Vanguards, Explorers and IRBM's, followed by revelations of the Satellites, Luniks and the Van Allen radiation belt. He remarks on the earth's wobble, the discovery of expanding cracks in the ocean's floor; he notes that the best Sino scientists are on the mainland not Taiwan; he has adventures with glaciologists in Antarctica, marine biologists in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific and Tartar physicists in the Soviet; he posits that New Zealand may be a new continent in its first stages; finally he questions the hazardous effects of fallout. Indeed, he takes us on a bona fide, de luxe intellectual tour, tempered with neutralistic political niceties and a plea for science to be the great ameliorating mediator. An important work, to be read and pondered, but of immediate consequence largely to the author's confreres around the globe.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 1961


Page Count: -

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1961