HENRY WILLIAM MENARD

December 10, 1920-February 9, 1986

BY ROBERT L. FISHER AND EDWARD D. GOLDBERG

HENRY WILLIAM MENARD was a scientific revolutionary. His research and his hypotheses, along with those of a relatively small, relatively young band of colleagues in the United States and the United Kingdom, provided the observational foundation from which grew the new global tectonics of the mid-twentieth century. A few scientific revolutionaries are scholars and Bill was one. His interests in the earth sciences were broad, spanning sedimentology, geomorphology, tectonics, geophysics, and geostatistics. But he ranged far into other areas of learned endeavors. He was a student of history, fascinated by events in the United States and England over the past several hundred years. English literature was especially attractive to him. Four of his six books melded natural science and social science. Of these, The Ocean of Truth: A Personal History of Global Tectonics, published posthumously by the Princeton University Press in 1986, is one insider's scientific history of the seafloor-spreading concept and plate tectonics. Henry Frankel, the distinguished philosopher of science, said in a review (Eos, October 13, 1987), ''I include Menard's work in the history of science within his professional legacy, since Menard did not approach the history of science as a retired scientist who decided to write, with memory as his only guide. . . .''



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement