Martin argues that meteorology was crucial to the transformation that took place in science during the early modern period. By examining the conceptual foundations of the subject, Martin links Aristotelian meteorology with the new natural philosophies of the seventeenth century. He argues that because meteorology involved conjecture and observation and forced attention to material and efficient causation, it paralleled developments in the natural philosophies of Descartes and other key figures of the scientific revolution.
Although an inherently uncertain endeavor, forecasting the weather was an extremely useful component not just of scientific study, but also of politics, courtly life, and religious doctrine. Martin explores how natural philosophers of the time participated in political and religious controversies by debating the meanings, causes, and purposes of natural disasters and other weather phenomena.
Through careful readings of an impressive range of texts, Martin situates the history of meteorology within the larger context of Renaissance and early modern science. The first study on Renaissance theories of weather in five decades, Renaissance Meteorology offers a novel understanding of traditional natural philosophy and its impact on the development of modern science.
For much of the first half of the twentieth century, meteorology was more art than science, dependent on an individual forecaster's lifetime of local experience. In Weather by the Numbers, Kristine Harper tells the story of the transformation of meteorology from a “guessing science” into a sophisticated scientific discipline based on physics and mathematics. What made this possible was the development of the electronic digital computer; earlier attempts at numerical weather prediction had foundered on the human inability to solve nonlinear equations quickly enough for timely forecasting. After World War II, the combination of an expanded observation network developed for military purposes, newly trained meteorologists, savvy about math and physics, and the nascent digital computer created a new way of approaching atmospheric theory and weather forecasting.
This transformation of a discipline, Harper writes, was the most important intellectual achievement of twentieth-century meteorology, and paved the way for the growth of computer-assisted modeling in all the sciences.
With elegance and pathos, historian Mark Thompson relates the saga of the Italian front, the nationalist frenzy and political intrigues that preceded the conflict, and the towering personalities of the statesmen, generals, and writers drawn into the heart of the chaos. A work of epic scale, The White War does full justice to the brutal and heart-wrenching war that inspired Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms.