Tracing the History of Sea-Level Science: A Comparative Study of Scientific, Political, and HIstorical Perspectives on Sea-Level Studies of the United Kingdom and the United States
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Historical differences in scientific priorities have shaped policies related to sea-level rise in both the United States and the United Kingdom. While traveling across the United Kingdom in the summer of 2012, I explored the particulars of when and where sea-level research began, sources of funding, and how historical events have shaped the scientific priorities of both countries. The United Kingdom and the United States are the focus of my studies because both countries are known to have contributed to the study of sea-level research in significant ways. My on-going research suggests that for myriad reasons these important scientific concepts were accepted much earlier in the United Kingdom, which may have given the UK an important head start on sea-level science and related environmental policy. As an example, for comparison, I detail how oil and gas companies of the 1900s delayed the acceptance of the theory of continental drift and isostacy. Natural disasters have also proven to substantially affect the research in individual countries. For instance, as early as 1953 storm surges in Europe received much political and scientific attention, which encouraged new research in sea-level science. In order for sea-level science to develop in the United States, theories such as plate tectonics and isostacy needed to be understood and accepted by scientists and professionals. This thesis is pursuing five large strands of research in tandem, and then showing how they all interrelate in answering the question: Why is the history of sea-level science different in the US than the UK; especially, why did the UK get so much earlier a start on it?
Franklin and Marshall College Archives, Undergraduate Honors Thesis 2013
- F&M Theses Collection 
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