ABSTRACT

This work was supported by National Science Foundation [grant number 1239758]. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant #1239758. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily react the views of the National Science Foundation.

Scientific papers are written as if their authors knew from the start where they were heading and saw all along where the data were leading. The false starts, the misinterpretations, the wasted efforts, the failed experiments – these are almost always expunged from published reports Because rational reconstruction is the norm for scientific reporting, many scientists follow this pattern even when speaking off the record, perpetuating the image of scientists as coldly rational, even robotic.

(Oreskes, 2001, p. xii) Scientific research involves more than the perfect world created in the published reports and is inseparable from feelings, personalities, and experiences of the people involved. That was why Oreskes (2001) invited 17 scientists to contribute to the development of Plate Tectonic Theory and write a chapter for the book Plate Tectonics: An Insider’s History of the Modern Theory of the Earth. An important goal of the chapters in their book was to bring a “multiplicity of perspectives,” i.e., to understand the difference in the ways scientists approached their work, made different contributions, and used essential means and tools.