To understand the achievements of this pioneer, it's necessary to go back and describe the world as it was, and it was pretty surprising.
As late as the early 1960s, it was believed that the ocean floor was a flat, unchanging surface, as smooth as a sandy beach; that the edge of the continent sloped down to an abyssal plane, until the sea floor gradually sloped up at another continent. Scientists called the sea floor a "place of perfect repose." Belief in continental drift would cast you as a nut-job, though it had been suggested in 1922. There was very little understanding of earthquakes, no discovery of the Ring of Fire; no respect given to ideas of tectonic plates. The idea of a supercontinent of Pangaea (and the others that proceeded it) was scientific heresy. "There was still no definitive theory that explained how the earth's crust formed. Mountains, oceans, continents, islands, valleys -- even the earth's simplest features were still a source of contention."[i] Read More