Hidden depths (book reviews: Fathoming the Ocean:the discovery and exploration of the deep sea (H.M. Rozwadowski, Belknap 2005); The Remarkable Life of William Beebe: explorer and naturalist (C.G. Gould, Shearwater 2004); Descent: The Heroic Discovery of the Abyss, (B. Matsen, Pantheon 2005).
Nature, 435, (7040), . (doi:10.1038/435279a).
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Deep-sea science is big science. Ocean covers 365 million square kilometres, and most of it is more than two kilometres deep. To understand what goes on down there, you need a ship to brave the high seas and equipment that can reach into the abyss. As today's researchers agonize over grant proposals and publication records, some may yearn for the time when they could chart the depths without worrying about tenure or research assessment exercises. But as these three books charting the history of deep-sea science reveal, that golden age never existed.
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