The Seashell on the Mountaintop: How Nicolaus Steno Solved an Ancient Mystery and Created a Science of the Earth

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Plume, 2004 - History - 240 pages
Seventeenth-century scientists were baffled: How did the fossils of seashells find their way to the tops of mountains? Nicolaus Steno, hailed by Stephen Jay Gould as ?the founder of geology, ? solved the puzzle, looking directly at the clues left in the layers of the Earth. Paradoxically, at the same time his ideas were undermining the Bible's authoritative claim as to the age of the planet, Steno was entering the priesthood and rising to bishop. He would ultimately be venerated as a saint and beatified by the Catholic Church in 1988.

A thrilling tale of scientific investigation and the portrait of an extraordinary genius, "The Seashell on the Mountaintop" is the story of how a scientist-turned-priest forever changed our understanding of the Earth and created a new field of science.

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About the author (2004)

Alan Cutler has a Ph.D. in geology and is a writer affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution. Dr. Cutler was a contributing editor to the book Forces of Change: A New View of Nature, a joint publication of the Smithsonian and the National Geographic Society; contributors included Stephen Jay Gould, John McPhee, and David Quammen. Dr. Cutler's writing has also appeared in The Washington Post and The Sciences, among other publications.

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