Book Review-‘Neptune’s Laboratory: Fantasy, fear and science at sea’ by A. Adler

By Michael Roberts, published January 2021

Abstract

In five comprehensively researched chapters, Neptune’s Laboratory manages to provide a detailed account on the development of ocean science as a unique and highly complex discipline, coupled with an intriguing and thought-provoking insight into humanity’s developing relationship with the marine environment. The book provides succinct yet detailed accounts on how individual pioneering research efforts, initially driven by humanity’s insatiable desire to better understand the unknown, was simultaneously driven by political and economic necessity. The book is supported by a meticulously referenced notes section which rightly pays tribute to the many scientists, entrepreneurs and visionaries whose endeavours over the last two centuries now provide a platform for us to better understand the world we live in. Anthony Adler relays the development of ocean sciences in an informative and well written style in near-chronological order and illustrates how the knowledge, so painstakingly gained over centuries, now provides a foundation on which many major contemporary, high profile research programmes are based. The closing chapters provide an excellent overview on current thinking, particularly in relation to climate change issues and how best we now look to use, manage and maintain the vast resources available from the ocean environment given the role it must surely play in supporting the future of all humanity…

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Subjects include: Science & Exploration

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