Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 13 Issue 02

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Volume 13, No. 2
Pages 110 - 111


BOOK REVIEW • Tides: A Scientific History

By Bruce Parker 
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I should say right at the outset that I found David Cartwright’s Tides: A Scientific History totally engrossing. This may partly be due to the fact that I have worked in the area of tides much of my career and so I found the idea of a review of the history of the development of tidal science seen through the eyes of one of its few living gurus irresistible. David Cartwright quite literally followed in the footsteps of Joseph Proudman and Arthur Doodson and worked side by side with Walter Munk, in the process making his own major contributions to tidal science, most notably in the areas of tidal analysis and prediction and the extraction of tides from satellite altimetry. That he downplays his own contributions, not even listing his own name in the author index (one will find some of his papers included in several of the References sections that follows each chapter), is a sign both of his own modesty and of the seriousness with which he treats the subject. For although he does provide some insights into personal aspects of the men who made contributions to tidal science over the centuries, for the most part Cartwright sticks to the development of the science itself. There are few if any who are in a better position to examine this development and to put each contribution into a larger context. Cartwright does more than just chronicle various scientific papers written over the years. His expertise is fully utilized in his interpretation and critiquing of these works and in his estimation of their contribution to either the understanding of the tides or the useful application of tidal knowledge by particular users (for example, mariners).


Parker, B. 2000. Review of Tides: A Scientific History, by D.E. Cartwright. Oceanography 13(2):110–111, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2000.47.

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