Our planet is a truly fascinating place. Scientists have studied the physical properties and processes of planet Earth for many centuries and during the latter part of the 20th century, the state of knowledge regarding our planet has received considerable refinement. However, given that many specific problems in the Earth Sciences have enjoyed considerable progress towards their solution, there is some concern that the foundational scientific background may not be receiving adequate attention. Software packages have been designed with such integrity and reliability that the user can operate them without knowing much of the theory that lies behind them. This web site is dedicated to preserving a legacy of knowledge that is threatened by a decreasing level of scientific expertise among 21st century technologists.
At the beginning of the 20th Century, most university physics departments offered courses in applied and theoretical mechanics, including such topics as: potential theory and the dynamics of fluid, semi-fluid and rigid bodies. At the turn of the millennium, very few universities are offering such courses. Curriculums that include the sub-disciplines within applied mechanics have dwindled given the rising interest in nuclear, particle, quantum and relativistic physics. This is not neccessarily a bad thing, as the newer and more abstract versions of physics actually helps to expand upon the rather limited understanding of the Newtonian view of physics.
As the world economy shifts to one that is more oriented to service rather than manufacture, the knowledge base of applied and theoretical mechanics dwindles and finds itself residing in an older segment of the scientific community; one that is "locked-up," more and more, in private corporations where it is maintained as a "corporate resource" rather than living and breathing in a free academic environment.
Nonetheless, this Newtonian view of physics is very practical and pragmatic. Perhaps its main draw today is in helping young scientists grasp the logic of scienceit demonstrates a very practical methodology that must continue to survive if humanity is to make further progress in its knowledge of the physical universe.
About the Author of this Web Site
The author of this web site hold degrees in: Surveying and Photogrammetry (B.S. from California State University, Fresno); Geodetic Science and Surveying (M. S. from The Ohio State University); and Theology (M.Div. from Blessed John XXIII National Seminary). He has approximately 15 years experience in NASA research in the areas of satellite geodesy, planetary gravimetric geodesy, geometric geodesy, tectonophysics and physical oceanography. He has helped to author more than 40 scientific papers and has co-translated a text in Potential Theory from German into English.
A PDF copy of MacPurity's Master's Thesis is available on this site:
Least Squares Collocation Applied to Local Gravimetric Solutions from Satellite Gravity Gradiometry Data, 1985, 104pp. (8.1 MB)
This was issued as Report No. 368 by the Department of Geodetic Science and Surveying at The Ohio State University.
Last Modified: August 21, 2007