, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 323–326 | Cite as

Human aspects of earthquakes

Deborah R. Coen: The Earthquake observers: Disaster science from Lisbon to Richter. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2013, 360pp, $35.00 HB
  • Agustín Udías
Book Review

Seismology is a science that has received little attention from historians of science; most of what has been written about it has been by seismologists. Thus, it is interesting to see the different ways of approaching this subject by seismologists and historians. The approach followed by Deborah Coen is of great interest. Instead of writing about seismology as a physical science, which seismologists would prefer, she has chosen to delve into the human aspects of the experience of earthquakes, that is, about the non-scientists, ordinary observers of earthquakes during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and their interaction with scientists. It must be remembered that the observations of how an earthquake is felt by people and the damage it has caused are still the basis for the scales of macroseismic intensities, so they are still of interest for seismologists today. These observations were the first data early seismologists had in order to assess the time of occurrence,...

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Geofisica y Meteorología, Facultad de C. FísicasUniversidad ComplutenseMadridSpain

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