Seeking Kosmos

Kim Kastens
Author Profile
published Nov 18, 2011
I've been working on a set of concept maps showing major domains of geoscientific thinking as part of the Synthesis of Research on Thinking and Learning in the Geosciences. One tendril of the "Temporal Thinking in Geosciences" concept map branches off to depict "Historical sciences."

Concept map of Historical Sciences
As described in an earlier post on temporal thinking, these are fields of science or scholarship that pay careful attention to the timing and sequence of events, and use timing and sequence to provide constraints on causality. Our concept map shows nodes for Cosmology, Geology & Paleontology, Archeology, History, and Developmental Psychology.

The word "cosmology" has been lurking around the outer reaches of my recognition vocabulary for decades, but the concept map was my first time using the word in print. So I rolled it around on my tongue and in my mind: Cosmology, the science of the origin and development of the universe.

Strange word, so similar to "cosmetology." How can this be?

It turns out that both words derive from the same Greek root: kosmos, order, good order, orderly arrangement.

Cosmologists bring order to the universe. Cosmetologists bring order to your hair.

Both respond to human's longing for orderliness.

The Synthesis of Thinking & Learning in the Geosciences will be coming out as a book in Spring 2012 in the Special Paper series from the Geological Society of America.

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