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Geoscientist Online

52 Things You Should Know About Rock Physics

deykiThis little gem is a lifetime’s worth of industry experience and know-how distilled into 136 pages of accessible advice, covering all aspects of rock physics from physical to theoretical.

Everyone knows the old adage that ‘all models are wrong, but some are useful’. But how wrong?  And how useful? And most importantly: why? These major questions (among many others) are addressed in 52 Things You Should Know About Rock Physics by a multitude of authors at various stages in their careers, across different areas of expertise.

Designed to be picked up when you have a spare minute, each essay is just two pages long with the table of contents arranged both alphabetically and by theme which is extremely useful if you are seeking advice on a single topic such as uncertainty, or workflows.

Some of the essays are devoted entirely to equations and their uses, such as the Hiltermann approximation, Gassmann equations, and other mathematical descriptions of rocks and their properties.  These can be a little maths-heavy if you’re not used to working with them, but are enlightening nonetheless. Other essays look at the history of the people behind the physics. Others still consider what data to use, how to check the quality, and when to use it: practical and sound advice to help quantify any uncertainties in the final results.

Then there are essays covering the basics, which are always good to reflect on lest you find yourself buried so deep in complexity that you lose sight of why you are there in the first place. There is even an essay on one geophysicist’s journey from childhood rock collector to career geoscientist and the beauty within the science. It is worth noting that there is a wide range of writing styles, some of which are easier to read than others.

This book’s copyright falls under an international creative commons licence and can be shared, and the contents used, in any way you see fit - making it a useful teaching resource.  Each contributing author has a biography in the back and every essay comes with a couple of handy references too in case you’d like to delve a little deeper. The advice contained within is equally useful to students and seasoned professionals.

A great addition to the home library of anyone who has any involvement, no matter how small, with the complex and fascinating world of rock physics.

Reviewed by Jonathan Scafidi

52 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT ROCK PHYSICS edited by MATT HALL & EVAN BIANCO, 2016. Published by: Agile Libre 136pp (pbk) ISBN: 098795945X List Price: £12.00. W: https://agilescientific.com/blog/2016/9/1/52-things-rock-physics