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Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

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Marie Tharp: uncovering the secrets of the ocean floor

5 minutes

Battling sexism and dissension, Marie Tharp changed how we understand the Earth

Now fundamental to our understanding of Earth science, the theory of continental drift was highly controversial – if not outright derided by the majority of the scientific community – when the German geophysicist Alfred Wegener first proposed it in 1912. This lively short animation from the Royal Institution chronicles how the American geologist Marie Tharp’s tireless and brilliant work helping to map the ocean floor during the mid-20th century – which included battling endemic sexism – forced a massive paradigm shift that led to plate tectonics gaining widespread acceptance among scientists.

Director: Rosanna Wan

Producer: Ed Prosser

Support Aeon

Ideas can change the world

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.

But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

Become a Friend for $5 a month or Make a one-off donation

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