The wonderful quality of In Our Time is to grant access to any which subject. I have seen this in the past with Victorian Pessimism and Gravitational Waves and this week we see it with Plate Tectonics. Even these subjects technical or remote from common interest are elevated in such a way, that one is engaged. What could be interesting in Plate Tectonics apart from the nearly surreal notion that the land under our feet is like a ship sailing on the ocean of molten rock beneath?
Such a notion is hard to accept and IOT reveals it took the world of geography some time to accept the theory. Once it did, a lot was gained. The guests explain the greatest merit of Plate Tectonics: it supplied a unifying theory for the world sciences. It brought land and sea, climate and rock, bio-diversity and the flipping poles together. What Plate Tectonics shows is that this earth is one big system in which all sub-systems are integrated.
Once having established that, Melvyn Bragg advanced to the next step: of all is integrated, then what is the virtue of the next theory, Gaia Theory. This is the theory that proposes to treat the earth system as a living organism, yet another surreal notion. One of the gathered specialists knocks it as absurd and the other praises it. The discussion lits up with true controversy. Who would have expected that?
More In Our Time
The Fisher King,
The Charge of the Light Brigade,
The Nicene Creed,
Four humor medicine.