Stearns Anthony Morse: Truth? 

Published: 11/9/2020 1:52:13 PM I read with interest the conception of science as malleable truth by my colleague Richard Stein (Ga...

Published: 11/9/2020 1:52:13 PM

I read with interest the conception of science as malleable truth by my colleague Richard Stein (Gazette, Nov. 6). 

It is not my experience.

When I hammer a piece of bedrock and pick up the chunk, I know I am looking at something never before seen by man or beast, and it will never change except to be destroyed by climate. 

When I cut a thin section of rock and look at it under my polarized light microscope, I know I am seeing something never before seen by any human. And it is beautiful and permanent. How this tells us about the geological past is rock solid. I wrote a book about it.

When I am given to study a huge and unique magmatic layered intrusion in Labrador, I know that every step I take and every diamond drill sample we cut are unique, never seen before, and will never change. I wrote another book about that.

When I ponder my Cambridge colleagues’ brilliant discoveries of unique rocks in Greenland, in which she uses — again with the polarized light microscope — the angles of triple junctions in the rocks to deduce the crystallization history, I have an idea. A fellow scientist in Seattle has written a code that will recreate the history of magmatic crystallization. He will give me the code, and by diligent struggling I will discover that every time a new phase crystallizes in a magma, there is a jump in the latent heat. My paper is titled “The Fractional Latent Heat of Crystallizing Magma,” and I wrote a book about that too.

Science is not malleable. Either it works or it doesn’t.

Stearns Anthony Morse

University of Massachusetts


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Newsrust: Stearns Anthony Morse: Truth? 
Stearns Anthony Morse: Truth?
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