The Ozone Layer: A Philosophy of Science Perspective

The Ozone Layer: A Philosophy of Science Perspective

The Ozone Layer: A Philosophy of Science Perspective

The Ozone Layer: A Philosophy of Science Perspective


The Ozone Layer is an accessible history of stratospheric ozone, from its discovery in the nineteenth century to current investigations of the Antarctic ozone hole. Drawing directly on the scientific literature, Christie uses the story of ozone as a case study for examining fundamental issues relating to the practice of modern science and the conduct of scientific debate. Linking key debates in the philosophy of science to an example of real-world science it is an excellent and thought-provoking introduction to the philosophy of science.


When choosing a topic for my doctoral studies in the History and Philosophy of Science, I wanted to do something that was important to our understanding of the way science works. I was also anxious to avoid the musty and much-travelled corridors of European science of a century or more ago. It was important to me that my topic should have strong relevance to today.

I became interested in stratospheric ozone, CFCs, and the Antarctic ozone hole when my husband John, who is a chemist, outlined a new course of lectures he was preparing. I asked him if I could sit in on his lectures. As the course unfolded I became enthralled with the topic. I hope that in presenting this very rich history of stratospheric ozone, and the scientific investigation of the Antarctic ozone hole in this way, and relating it to some consideration of how scientists collect and evaluate evidence, I will have provided material of great interest and value for all who read these pages.

This book is an extension of the work in my doctoral thesis. I am greatly indebted to my husband, Dr John R. Christie, for his help, support, encouragement and for his long-suffering patience. As a scientist himself, he has been a very wonderful resource and this book would never have been written without his help. I would like to thank him for the many hours he gave me and for the very many valuable discussions we have had. He has made many valuable contributions towards getting this book together, which should not be overlooked. They included helping me with the knobs and whistles on our computer software, and, more importantly, invaluable help with, and contribution to, the more technical aspects of the chemical discussions.

I would also like to thank Dr Neil Thomason. Neil supervised my doctoral work. He also took much of the initiative in getting my work brought to the notice of the publishers. He catapulted me into taking effective steps to produce this volume, by arranging an interview for me with Catherine Max (formerly of Cambridge University Press). I would also like to thank Catherine who did much to encourage me. She was always . . .

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