Soundings: The Story of the Remarkable Woman Who Mapped the Ocean Floor

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Her maps of the ocean floor have been called "one of the most remarkable achievements in modern cartography", yet no one knows her name.

Soundings is the story of the enigmatic, unknown woman behind one of the greatest achievements of the 20th century. Before Marie Tharp, geologist and gifted draftsperson, the whole world, including most of the scientific community, thought the ocean floor was a vast expanse of nothingness. In 1948, at age 28, Marie walked into the newly formed geophysical lab at Columbia University and practically demanded a job. The scientists at the lab were all male; the women who worked there were relegated to secretary or assistant. Through sheer willpower and obstinacy, Marie was given the job of interpreting the soundings (records of sonar pings measuring the ocean's depths) brought back from the ocean-going expeditions of her male colleagues. The marriage of artistry and science behind her analysis of this dry data gave birth to a major work: the first comprehensive map of the ocean floor, which laid the groundwork for proving the then-controversial theory of continental drift.

When combined, Marie's scientific knowledge, her eye for detail and her skill as an artist revealed not a vast empty plane, but an entire world of mountains and volcanoes, ridges and rifts, and a gateway to the past that allowed scientists the means to imagine how the continents and the oceans had been created over time.

Just as Marie dedicated more than twenty years of her professional life to what became the Lamont Geological Observatory, engaged in the task of mapping every ocean on Earth, she dedicated her personal life to her great friendship with her co-worker, Bruce Heezen. Partners in work and in many ways, partners in life, Marie and Bruce were devoted to one another as they rose to greater and greater prominence in the scientific community, only to be envied and finally dismissed by their beloved institute. They went on together, refining and perfecting their work and contributing not only to humanity's vision of the ocean floor, but to the way subsequent generations would view the Earth as a whole.

With an imagination as intuitive as Marie's, brilliant young writer Hali Felt brings to vivid life the story of the pioneering scientist whose work became the basis for the work of others scientists for generations to come.

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About the author

Hali Felt teaches writing at the University of Pittsburgh. She received her MFA from the University of Iowa and has completed residencies at the MacDowell Colony, the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, and Portland Writers in the Schools. In the past, she has reported for the Columbia Journalism Review and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. She currently lives in Pittsburgh.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Henry Holt and Company
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Published on
Jul 2, 2013
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Pages
352
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ISBN
9781466847460
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Historical
Biography & Autobiography / Science & Technology
Science / Earth Sciences / Oceanography
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Filled with thrilling accounts of his own participation in dives off the coast of Japan, as well as in the Mediterranean, the Atlantic, and the Arabian Sea, we watch as Hancock discovers underwater ruins exactly where the myths say they should be—sunken kingdoms that archaeologists never thought existed. Fans of Hancock’s previous adventures will find themselves immersed in Underworld, a provocative book that provides both compelling hard evidence for a fascinating, forgotten episode in human history and a completely new explanation for the origins of civilization as we know it.


From the Hardcover edition.
哈莉.菲爾特(HALI FELT)
自古以來人類仰望星空,卻對深海與地球內部一無所知。

直到她的一張地圖,掀起了革命。


◆板塊看不見,但位在中洋脊的大發現,卻證實它千真萬確


你可聽過一條總長八萬公里,從北極海延伸至南冰洋的宏偉山脈?綿延不盡的山脈,正中央卻陷落出一道大裂縫,從中有活火山不斷噴發熔岩。這幅連安地斯山、喜馬拉雅山脈也難以媲美的景色卻不為人知,亦沒機會被人看見。只因它完全被覆蓋地球七成表面的浩瀚大洋所淹沒,它就是中洋脊。這個星球上獨一無二的壯闊地形構造。


人類一直苦無方法窺看海洋底部。直到二戰後,聲納技術才足以用來「聽見」海底。探測深海是哥倫比亞大學「拉蒙地球觀測所」一群研究者浪漫而偏執的夢想。年輕的布魯斯.希森便克服萬難,在經費與設備極克難之下,仍一次次駕船出海探測大西洋的深度。


◆「大陸漂移說」翻身的契機,始於瑪莉.薩普筆下的第一幅海底地圖


布魯斯大膽的探險記錄,需要細心整理才能看出頭緒。擁有地質學、數學、與繪圖學等專業訓練的女主角瑪莉.薩普,在拉蒙起初卻作為「人工計算機」與包辦雜務的總管,盡做些大材小用的工作。只有到瑪莉開始整理布魯斯的探測資料,她才有機會施展所長——將龐雜的聲納曲線繪製成一目瞭然的地圖。


1957年,在瑪莉謹慎大膽的筆下,深海隱藏的面貌終於揭諸於世。一幅全球海底地形圖,向世人揭露了深海掩蓋的祕密——中洋脊的中央存在著一道大裂縫!因它「看起來實在太像大陸漂移」,掀起了學術界的軒然大波。


◆她徹底顛覆人類對地球的想像,卻只因身為女性而不被讚頌


全球海底地形圖問世後,地球有了新的形狀——地形絲毫未變,但人類的認知卻被徹底顛覆。韋格納的「大陸漂移說」當年是地球科學界的異端邪說,今天卻是公認的常識。


瑪莉.薩普的性格始終勇敢、擇善固執,以及不同流俗。她不只看出中洋裂谷的重要意涵,更從此深深著迷於深海的奧秘,為繪製大洋地圖這項志業奉獻了一生時光。縱使她身處的時代,女性地位總是受到打壓,做出的貢獻也幾乎不被聽見。


瑪莉從在布魯斯手下工作,逐漸變成布魯斯仰賴的重要夥伴。兩人雖時有爭執,最後仍因長年並肩作戰,發產出一段深有默契的生涯夥伴暨愛侶的關係。地質觀測這項共同的終生職志讓他們走到了一起。


◆盡其在我,低調內斂的「關鍵少數」


縱使瑪莉.薩普做出如此不凡的科學貢獻,堪與歷史眾女傑相輝映,這段故事卻險些湮沒。直到本書作者哈莉.菲爾特湊巧在報上讀到了紀念瑪莉.薩普過世的訃聞。而「發現」了她的故事,從一絲單純好奇,到為瑪莉的人格所深深吸引,更從此為這段故事著迷不可自拔。


中洋脊在深海的默默擴張,是地球表面上火山、地震、大陸、大洋、高山與深谷的根本成因。瑪莉的科學生涯,大半在男性握有絕對權力的學術機構中度過,作為能力超凡卻甚少受到賞識重視的「關鍵少數」,默默從堆積如山的探測資料中,梳理出不凡的結論。這讓重視知性的科學發現愈加發人省思,還添上些許浪漫與個人丰采。


瑪莉繪製的地圖,讓我們彷彿伸手就能觸碰到遙遠而廣闊的大洋底部。而本傳作者哈莉,經過鉅細靡遺的考證,抒寫出瑪莉的科學生平——既是傳記,也是一封忘年的情書。使我們展開書頁彷彿就能走進上個世紀的時空氛圍,目睹在世紀大發現背後,那位自信自立、任性古怪、敢愛敢恨,又具有非凡人格魅力的主角。名字值得被傳誦的瑪莉.薩普。


【各界感動好評】


作者以不凡之筆,鉅細靡遺地自龐雜史料、各樣私人札記與書信中拼織出薩普卓然剛毅的一生。閱讀此書不僅能認識地球科學的進展軌跡,更感受到科學家探索真相過程中複雜的人事傾軋、認知衝突,知與未知之間的擺盪與游移,人物間交纏的生命軌跡,更猶如地球板塊運動的人類版。堪稱精彩的科學人物傳記文學傑作。

——井迎兆教授、王慰慈教授,台灣國際女性影展《數學女鬥士:徐道寧》紀錄片導演


作者以動人的筆觸闡述薩普在當時男性主宰科學領域中受到的排擠與歧視,但這都無法改變她在地球科學領域中卓越不凡的貢獻。薩普的研究深深地影響到之後「板塊運動學說」的發展,改變了人類對海底世界的了解。

——台灣大學地質系,陳文山教授


女性以其思維的細膩度及與環境互動的敏感度,在不同層次的思考中,常能突破大部分由男性主導的科學領域,帶出驚喜。此書主角瑪莉.薩普以她的地質專業及深厚的文學藝術涵養,獨排男性挑撥般的議論,堅定自己的思維,因而建構了六○年代地球科學界重要的大陸漂移論證。這是一本值得推薦了解科學演進,同時認識女科學家的堅持努力的傳記歷史書。女性以其思維的細膩度及與環境互動的敏感度,在不同層次的思考中,常能突破大部分由男性主導的科學領域,帶出驚喜。此書主角瑪莉.薩普以她的地質專業及深厚的文學藝術涵養,獨排男性挑撥般的議論,堅定自己的思維,因而建構了六○年代地球科學界重要的大陸漂移論證。這是一本值得推薦了解科學演進,同時認識女科學家的堅持努力的傳記歷史

書。

——中央大學地球科學系,馬國鳳教授


作者對薩普懷抱的熱情直透紙背,徹底展現這位於二〇〇六年逝世的堅毅女性,凡事自有準則、對抗時代限制的不凡人生。

——《華盛頓郵報》


本書呈現上世紀四〇至六〇年代那段海洋學界競相發現、難忘又振奮的時代記事,歌頌薩普身為女性科學家非凡驚奇的人生。

——《自然》期刊


薩普畫出海底地圖,永遠改變了科學界對地球的認知。在職場遭忽視與邊緣化多年之後,薩普終於掙得屬於自己的歷史定位。

——《科學新聞》雜誌


作者嫻熟應付一山又一山的文獻資料,重現當年薩普處理聲納紀錄的神奇魔法,釀出一則犀利又發人深省、呈現人生多種面向與輪廓的傳記故事。

——《自然史》雜誌


閒遊於科學與詩意之間,一路追尋薩普的人生軌跡。

——《明尼亞波里斯明星論壇報》


作者力搏繁複的科學研究程序與概念,交出精彩作品。本書倚仗科學家探索海底深度的同一套方法,成功探得薩普的人生深度。薩普的人生與菲爾特的作品,兩者同樣成就非凡。

——《克里夫蘭誠懇家日報》


作者和看不見深海真貌的主角一樣窮盡想像力,絮絮填補主角不為人知的生命歷程,變出一段不可能親眼目睹卻縈繞心頭的動人篇章。薩普是海洋探險傳奇的迷人主角,與這本廣受讚賞的傳記相得益彰。

——《半身像》女性雙月刊


引人入勝。本書寫作技巧高超,主角是一名個性瀟灑、任性固執的二十世紀不凡女子,置身於充滿男性且偶爾對女性不友善的學術環境中。在卓越作家筆下形成同樣出類拔萃的人物傳記。

——《書目雜誌》重點書評


喜歡傳記類、熱愛搜刮重要歷史人物故事的讀者,都該速速找來本書大啖一番。作者的任務並非渲染或潤飾薩普的人生本質,而是挖掘真相,最後她也成功描繪這位異常執著、無人能阻止其改變世界的女性的人生畫像。

——《書架意識網》


經由作者之筆,薩普一生的貢獻躍然紙上。對傳記有興趣的讀者肯定會對薩普卓越的科學成就留下深刻印象。強烈推薦。

——《圖書館學刊》 




出版社 貓頭鷹 (城邦)

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