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Download The Seashell on the Mountaintop: A Story of Science, Sainthood, and the Humble Genius who Discovered a New History of the Earth Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Seashell on the Mountaintop: A Story of Science, Sainthood, and the Humble Genius who Discovered a New History of the Earth, by Alan Cutler Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (276 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Alan Cutler Narrator: Grover Gardner Publisher: Highbridge Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The story of enigmatic scientist-turned-priest, Nicholas Steno, who first proposed that the shell-shaped rocks commonly found on Italian mountaintops actually were fossils—a notion completely antithetical to the seventeenth century theological and scientific world view, which maintained that the earth was only 6000 years old. Placing Steno’s story in the context of such characters as Darwin, Newton, Thomas Jefferson, and Saint Augustine, Alan Cutler illuminates the subject of “deep time” by combining authoritative science with stories of extraordinary people to bring home the philosophical and personal significance of Steno’s ideas, offering a fresh, new perspective on the very old planet on which we live.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Ray | 1/25/2014

    " More than one man may lay claim to the title as the father of modern geology, and Nicholas Stano is one of the earliest. His work with fossils from the late 17th Century did not make a significant contribution to the understanding of the world around us during his time, but his work as later re-discovered was revolutionary. Anyone who read Simon Winchester's book "The Map That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology" should like this book as much if not more. An interesting element of the book is the description of how influential the church was in the late 16th and 17th Century regarding scientific understanding, and how so many things we take for granted today were impossible to believe given the biblical interpretations so strong during those times. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides | 1/16/2014

    " This is an interesting subject but I found this particular discussion to be somewhat tedious. (I, like many others I'm sure, became curious about Steno after Google did a logo commemorating him a few weeks ago.) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Michael | 1/10/2014

    " I have read this three times. It is amazing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Bibliomama | 1/3/2014

    " The man and the history were fascinating, but the writing was very dull. "

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About the Author

Alan Cutler, PhD, a well-known and widely respected researcher in paleontology and geology, is a Research Associate in the Department of Paleobiology at the Smithsonian. Affliated with the Smithsonian since 1993, he also works in the Smithsonian’s Department of Public Programs. He is an expert in the study of fossilization.