Kearney, William S

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Now showing 1 - 3 of 3
  • Publication
    Tuzo Wilson in China: Tectonics, Diplomacy and Discipline During the Cold War
    (2013-04-01) Kearney, William S
    Canadian geophysicist John Tuzo Wilson's transform fault concept was instrumental in unifying the various strands of evidence that together make up plate tectonic theory. Outside of his scientific research, Wilson was a tireless science administrator and promoter of international scientific cooperation. To that end, he travelled to China twice, once in 1958 as part of the International Geophysical Year and once again in 1971. Coming from a rare non-communist westerner in China both before and after the Cultural Revolution, Wilson's travels constitute valuable temporal and spatial cross-sections of China as that nation struggled to define itself in relation to its past, to the Soviet Union which inspired its politics, and to the West through Wilson's new science of plate tectonics. In so constructing these cross-sections, Wilson acts as a kind of cartographer of science, mapping the tectonic shifts during the Cold War, which revolutionized his understanding of the earth, of politics, and of the discipline of geophysics.
  • Publication
    The University of Pennsylvania's Department of Mines, Arts, and Manufactures in Context
    (2012-04-18) Kearney, William S
    This paper argues that even though it was short-lived compared to its contemporary engineering schools, the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Mines was an integral part of the changing energy landscape of 19th-century Pennsylvania. In addition to walking the reader through the history of Penn's Department of Mines, the paper explains how the value of science lies not in the lone pursuit of knowledge for knowledge's sake, but in its application to problems of economic importance, ultimately advocating the importance of the dissemination of knowledge.
  • Publication
    Defining a Discipline: George Gaylord Simpson and the Invention of Modern Paleontology
    (2012-12-07) Kearney, William S
    Kearney studies how the paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson worked to define his own field of evolutionary paleontology.