Plate Tectonics - A Scientific Revolution

Some truly revolutionary scientific theories may take years or decades to win general acceptance among scientists. This is certainly true of plate tectonics, one of the most important and far-ranging geological theories of all time; when first proposed, it was ridiculed, but steadily accumulating evidence finally prompted its acceptance, with immense consequences for geology, geophysics, oceanography, and paleontology.

Scientific revolutions challenge us to look at the world in a new way. In the 1500's Michael Servetus discovered the pulmonary circulation of blood. Because of this discovery, and some other advanced scientific ideas for his time he was considered a heretic and was burned at the stake.

Later on in 1543 Nicolaus Copernicus argued that the planets revolved around the Sun but he was called mad and eccentric and he was later discredited and put to shame because his theory went against pre-established catholic conjecture that said that the Earth was the center of the Universe.

Sometime after when Galileo tried to defend this heliocentric argument, Galileo was tormented, lost his possessions and fame to be exiled and live under house arrest until the day of his death.


Brooklyn College - Geology Department